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Sniff Your Way to Clarity: The Case of Olfactory Imagery
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2008 (English)In: CHEMOSENSORY PERCEPTION, ISSN 1936-5802, Vol. 1, no 4, 242-246 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study addressed the effects of blocking spontaneous sniffing during olfactory imagery. A group of subjects (n=40) who scored high in olfactory focus and imagery ability rated the vividness in olfactory and visual imagery content under conditions of blocked sniffing, blocked vision, and a nonblocked control. The imagery stimuli consisted of 90 common words that could represent either an odor or a visual object. Blocked sniffing was expected to impair olfactory imagery vividness, but since visual imagery entails eye movements, which was not affected by the ""blocked vision"" manipulation, visual imagery ratings were effectively used as a placebo control. Confirming our hypotheses, the results showed that preventing sniffing resulted in a selectively poorer olfactory but not visual vividness, whereas blocked vision showed no effect on either the visual or olfactory vividness ratings. These observations confirm that sensorimotor activity is an important aspect for the quality of evoked olfactory images.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 1, no 4, 242-246 p.
Keyword [en]
Olfaction, Imagery, Sniffing, Vision, Sensorimotor, visual-imagery, mental-imagery, perception, odor, humans, damage
National Category
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-57705DOI: 10.1007/s12078-008-9035-zISI: 000261843300004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-57705DiVA: diva2:417531
Note

authorCount :4

Available from: 2011-05-17 Created: 2011-05-16 Last updated: 2013-04-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Olfactory Cognition: The Case of Olfactory Imagery
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Olfactory Cognition: The Case of Olfactory Imagery
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The capacity to form olfactory images has received less attention than the formation of visual and auditory images. The evidence in favor of such ability is also inconsistent. This thesis explored some of the characteristics of olfactory imagery through three empirical studies. Study I investigated the effects of blocking spontaneous sniffing during olfactory imagery. The results indicated that the prevention of spontaneous sniffing reduced olfactory but not visual imagery capacity. Study II studied the relation between olfactory awareness (as indexed by olfactory dreams, olfactory imagery, and olfactory interest) and olfactory functions (i.e., odor threshold, episodic odor memory, and odor identification). The main findings were that compared to low, high olfactory awareness was associated with better episodic odor memory and identification, but not with higher olfactory sensitivity. Study III investigated the neural correlates of odor evoked autobiographical memories (OEAMs) as (a) a function of cue modality (i.e., odors and their verbal referents), and (b) a function of memory remoteness. The results from Study III showed that OEAMs activated regions generally associated with autobiographical memory. In addition, verbally cued OEAMs were associated with activity linked to olfactory imagery. Odor cues activated the limbic and temporal polar regions more than verbal cues; a result that may explain the phenomenological differences found between the cued memories. Moreover, OEAMs from the first decade of life were associated with higher activity in the secondary olfactory cortex, whereas memories from young adulthood were related to areas linked to semantic memory processing. Taken together these studies favor the notion of a human capacity to form olfactory images. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University, 2013. 73 p.
Keyword
Olfactory imagery, sniffing, olfactory awareness, odor threshold, episodic odor memory, odor identification, odor evoked autobiographical memory, fMRI
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-88413 (URN)978-91-7447-661-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-04-26, David Magnussonsalen (U31), Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-04-04 Created: 2013-03-14 Last updated: 2013-04-04Bibliographically approved

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