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Bad odors stick better than good ones: Olfactory qualities and odor recognition
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Uppsala Universitet.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology.
2009 (English)In: Experimental psychology (Göttingen), ISSN 1618-3169, E-ISSN 2190-5142, Vol. 56, no 6, 375-380 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The influences of perceived odor qualities on the retention of olfactory information across the adult lifespan were examined. Young (19–36 years), young-old (60–74 years), and old (75–91 years) adults (n = 202) rated a set of unfamiliar odors across a series of perceptual dimensions (i.e., pleasantness, intensity, and irritability) at encoding. The overall results indicated that memory for unpleasant olfactory information was better than that for pleasant odors across the lifespan. Also, participants showed better retention for odors perceived with high intensity and irritability than for odors rated with low or medium scores. Interestingly, the old adults showed selective beneficial memory effects for odors rated as highly irritable. To the extent that perceptions of high irritability reflect an activation of the trigeminal sensory system, this finding suggests that older adults may use trigeminal components in odor information to compensate for age-related impairments in olfactory memory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hogrefe & Huber Publishers , 2009. Vol. 56, no 6, 375-380 p.
Keyword [en]
odor, adult, age, sex, odor recognition memory, odor quality, hedonics, pleasantness, intensity, irritability, trigeminal
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-35332DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169.56.6.375ISI: 000266940200001PubMedID: 19502198OAI: diva2:287026

This work was supported by grants from The Swedish Research Council to Maria Larsson (No. 421-2005-2113).

Available from: 2010-01-16 Created: 2010-01-16 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved

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