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Odor and Sensory Irritation Perception in Women with Chemical Sensitivity and their Nonsensitive Controls
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Persons with self-reported chemical sensitivity (CS-special persons and CS persons), their non-CS controls and “typical” respondents were recruited from a random sample of the Stockholm-County women population and thoroughly screened according to self-reported sensitivities. They were experimentally tested jointly for odor and sensory-irritation detection and pyridine and formaldehyde recognition using the method of constant stimuli (dynamic olfactometry). The P25, P50 and P75 absolute thresholds of odor and sensory-irritation detection and of pyridine and formaldehyde recognition were found to be systematically lower for the CS groups (CS–special and CS-persons) than for the non-CS group. Compared to the other groups (CS, non-CS and typical persons), the CS–special group showed rather low false alarm rates (except for irritation), with smaller standard deviations, and a narrower range of effective thresholds. According to signal detectability theory (SDT), higher sensitivity indices (d’) were found for odor detection and substance recognition in the CS–special and CS groups than in the “typical” and non-CS controls. The CS-special persons’ previously self-reported specific sensitivity to formaldehyde could not be experimentally verified even for formaldehyde recognition. The SDT-results rather suggest that CS–special persons may be generally, slightly more sensitive than non-CS although the difference in sensitivity seems to be too small to support existence of functional syndrome.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 29 p.
Keyword [en]
Chemical sensitivity, odor, sensory irritation, sensitivity index, absolute threshold, effective threshold, detection, recognition and perception.
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-31375OAI: diva2:276726
U14, Frescati Hagvägen 8, Stockholm (English)
Social and Behavioural Science, Law
Available from: 2009-11-13 Created: 2009-11-11 Last updated: 2009-11-13Bibliographically approved

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