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The Role of Odor and Sensory Irritation in Human Chemical Sensitivity
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The main objective of this thesis is to apply complimentary psychophysical theories and methods to investigate human perception of odor and sensory irritation of chemical compounds present in indoor air. Three psychophysical theories: Signal Detection Theory (SDT), Threshold Theory and Luce’s Choice Theory (CT) were applied to measure detection and recognition of odor and sensory irritation of two odorous irritants (pyridine and formaldehyde) by using the method of constant stimuli. Participants exhibited a superior perceptual ability for odor detection than sensory-irritation detection. Substance recognition was more associated with odor detection than sensory-irritation detection. Individual differences in sensory sensitivity and response bias were larger for sensory-irritation than for odor. Luce’s CT fits well the simultaneous detection and recognition data. Perceived intensity was used for determining the near-threshold psychophysical function and for revealing how concentrations at preceding trials and the inter-presentation intervals affect odor and sensory irritation for a subsequent stimulus. As a new candidate of odorous irritants, hexanal was used as stimulus. Significant effects of concentration and interaction of concentration and time intervals were observed for odor but not for sensory irritation. However for the same sniff, the duration of sensory irritation was experienced to last longer than that of an odor. A further experiment was conducted on "chemically-sensitive" persons (CS), stringently selected from a population-based questionnaire. The results confirmed that CS-persons had tendencies of heightened odor sensitivity as compared with non-CS persons. Although the difference was not statistically significant, the sensitivity indices of odor indicated that CS-persons are a homogenous group, with a high precision in odor detection.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 2010. , 111 p.
Keyword [en]
Odor and irritation detection, recognition, threshold, choice theory, intensity, chemical sensitivity, threshold, and sensitivity index.
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43019ISBN: 978-91-7447-151-9 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-43019DiVA: diva2:353061
Public defence
2010-10-28, David Magnussonsalen (U31), hus 8, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note
At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 1: Submitted. Paper 2: In press. Paper 3: Manuscript.Available from: 2010-10-04 Created: 2010-09-23 Last updated: 2010-10-11Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Human ability to detect and recognize odorous irritants in the framework of three theories
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human ability to detect and recognize odorous irritants in the framework of three theories
2010 (English)In: Chemical Senses, ISSN 0379-864X, E-ISSN 1464-3553Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43029 (URN)
Available from: 2010-09-24 Created: 2010-09-24 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
2. Intensity of odor and sensory irritation as a function of hexanal concentration and interpresentation intervals: An exploratory study
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intensity of odor and sensory irritation as a function of hexanal concentration and interpresentation intervals: An exploratory study
2010 (English)In: Perceptual and Motor Skills, ISSN 0031-5125, E-ISSN 1558-688X, Vol. 111, no 1, 210-228 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Hexanal is a suspected irritant in indoor air. Free-number magnitude estimation was used to measure intensity of odor and sensory irritation of two test concentrations (64 or 178 ppb) as a function of five concentrations and four interpresentation intervals. 9 of 12 participants (6 men, 6 women, ages 20–30 years) were able to detect the odor and report sensory irritation. The method of constant stimuli was applied to calculate the absolute thresholds of hexanal, which were 25 ppb for odor and 281 ppb for sensory irritation. Well-fitting power functions had a higher exponent for sensory-irritation intensity than for odor intensity (0.71 vs 0.66). A statistically significant effect on odor intensity was found for the concentration of presentations preceding the test stimuli and an interaction between concentrations and interpresentation intervals; however, sensory irritation was experienced to last longer than the odor of the same concentration.

Keyword
sensory irritation, absolute thresholds, odor, hexanal concentration, time intervals
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43030 (URN)10.2466/13.24.27.PMS.111.4.210-228 (DOI)000282483700021 ()
Available from: 2010-09-24 Created: 2010-09-24 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically approved
3. Odor and sensory irrittaion in women with and without chemical sensitivity
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Odor and sensory irrittaion in women with and without chemical sensitivity
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-43031 (URN)
Available from: 2010-09-24 Created: 2010-09-24 Last updated: 2010-09-24Bibliographically approved

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