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  • 1.
    Granqvist, Pehr
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
    Vestbrant, Karolina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
    Döllinger, Lillian
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
    Liuzza, Marco Tullio
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Cognitive psychology. University of Catanzaro, Italy.
    Olsson, Mats J.
    Blomkvist, Anna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology.
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    The scent of security: Odor of romantic partner alters subjective discomfort and autonomic stress responses in an adult attachment-dependent manner2019In: Physiology and Behavior, ISSN 0031-9384, E-ISSN 1873-507X, Vol. 198, p. 144-150Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    When in a stressful situation, access to adult attachment figures (e.g., romantic partners) is an important means by which adults regulate stress responses. The practice of smelling a partner's worn garment is reported as a self-treatment against stress. Here, we experimentally determined whether exposure to a partner's body odor attenuates adults' subjective discomfort and psychophysiological responses, and whether such effects are qualified by adult attachment security. In a blocked design, participants (N = 34) were presented with their partner's body odor, their own body odor, the odor of a clean t-shirt and rose odor, while exposed to weak electric shocks to induce discomfort and stress responses. Results showed that partner body odor reduces subjective discomfort during a stressful event, as compared with the odor of oneself. Also, highly secure participants had attenuated skin conductance when exposed to partner odor. We conclude that partner odor is a scent of security, especially for attachment-secure adults.

  • 2. Hedblom, Marcus
    et al.
    Gunnarsson, Bengt
    Iravani, Behzad
    Knez, Igor
    Schaefer, Martin
    Thorsson, Pontus
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Centre, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    Reduction of physiological stress by urban green space in a multisensory virtual experiment2019In: Scientific Reports, ISSN 2045-2322, E-ISSN 2045-2322, Vol. 9, article id 10113Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Although stress is an increasing global health problem in cities, urban green spaces can provide health benefits. There is, however, a lack of understanding of the link between physiological mechanisms and qualities of urban green spaces. Here, we compare the effects of visual stimuli (360 degree virtual photos of an urban environment, forest, and park) to the effects of congruent olfactory stimuli (nature and city odours) and auditory stimuli (bird songs and noise) on physiological stress recovery. Participants (N = 154) were pseudo-randomised into participating in one of the three environments and subsequently exposed to stress (operationalised by skin conductance levels). The park and forest, but not the urban area, provided significant stress reduction. High pleasantness ratings of the environment were linked to low physiological stress responses for olfactory and to some extent for auditory, but not for visual stimuli. This result indicates that olfactory stimuli may be better at facilitating stress reduction than visual stimuli. Currently, urban planners prioritise visual stimuli when planning open green spaces, but urban planners should also consider multisensory qualities.

  • 3. Hedblom, Marcus
    et al.
    Gunnarsson, Bengt
    Schaefer, Martin
    Knez, Igor
    Thorsson, Pontus
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    Sounds of Nature in the City: No Evidence of Bird Song Improving Stress Recovery2019In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, ISSN 1661-7827, E-ISSN 1660-4601, Vol. 16, no 8, article id 1390Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Noise from city traffic is one of the most significant environmental stressors. Natural soundscapes, such as bird songs, have been suggested to potentially mitigate or mask noise. All previous studies on masking noise use self-evaluation data rather than physiological data. In this study, while respondents (n = 117) watched a 360 degrees virtual reality (VR) photograph of a park, they were exposed to different soundscapes and mild electrical shocks. The soundscapesbird song, bird song and traffic noise, and traffic noisewere played during a 10 min recovery period while their skin conductance levels were assessed as a measure of arousal/stress. No significant difference in stress recovery was found between the soundscapes although a tendency for less stress in bird song and more stress in traffic noise was noted. All three soundscapes, however, significantly reduced stress. This result could be attributed to the stress-reducing effect of the visual VR environment, to the noise levels being higher than 47 dBA (a level known to make masking ineffective), or to the respondents finding bird songs stressful. Reduction of stress in cities using masking with natural sounds requires further studies with not only larger samples but also sufficient methods to detect potential sex differences.

  • 4. Opendak, Maya
    et al.
    Robinson-Drummer, Patrese
    Blomkvist, Anna
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Personality, Social and Developmental Psychology. New York University School of Medicine, USA; Nathan Kline Institute, USA.
    Zanca, Roseanna M.
    Wood, Kira
    Jacobs, Lily
    Chan, Stephanie
    Tan, Stephen
    Woo, Joyce
    Venkataraman, Gayatri
    Kirschner, Emma
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institute, Sweden.
    Wilson, Donald A.
    Serrano, Peter A.
    Sullivan, Regina M.
    Neurobiology of maternal regulation of infant fear: the role of mesolimbic dopamine and its disruption by maltreatment2019In: Neuropsychopharmacology, ISSN 0893-133X, E-ISSN 1740-634X, Vol. 44, no 7, p. 1247-1257Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Child development research highlights caregiver regulation of infant physiology and behavior as a key feature of early life attachment, although mechanisms for maternal control of infant neural circuits remain elusive. Here we explored the neurobiology of maternal regulation of infant fear using neural network and molecular levels of analysis in a rodent model. Previous research has shown maternal suppression of amygdala-dependent fear learning during a sensitive period. Here we characterize changes in neural networks engaged during maternal regulation and the transition to infant self-regulation. Metabolic mapping of 2deoxyglucose uptake during odor-shock conditioning in postnatal day (PN) 14 rat pups showed that maternal presence blocked fear learning, disengaged mesolimbic circuitry, basolateral amygdala (BLA), and plasticity-related AMPA receptor subunit trafficking. At PN18, when maternal presence only socially buffers threat learning (similar to social modulation in adults), maternal presence failed to disengage the mesolimbic dopaminergic system, and failed to disengage both the BLA and plasticity-related AMPA receptor subunit trafficking. Further, maternal presence failed to block threat learning at PN14 pups following abuse, and mesolimbic dopamine engagement and AMPA were not significantly altered by maternal presence-analogous to compromised maternal regulation of children in abusive relationships. Our results highlight three key features of maternal regulation: (1) maternal presence blocks fear learning and amygdala plasticity through age-dependent suppression of amygdala AMPA receptor subunit trafficking, (2) maternal presence suppresses engagement of brain regions within the mesolimbic dopamine circuit, and (3) early-life abuse compromises network and molecular biomarkers of maternal regulation, suggesting reduced social scaffolding of the brain.

  • 5. Peter, Moa G.
    et al.
    Porada, Danja K.
    Regenbogen, Christina
    Olsson, Mats J.
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    Sensory loss enhances multisensory integration performance2019In: Cortex, ISSN 0010-9452, E-ISSN 1973-8102, Vol. 120, p. 116-130Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Auditory and visual sensory loss has repeatedly been shown to alter abilities in remaining sensory modalities. It is, however, unclear whether sensory loss also impacts multisensory integration; an ability that is fundamental for the perception of the world around us. We determined effects of olfactory sensory deprivation on multisensory perception by assessing temporal as well as semantic aspects of audio-visual integration in 37 individuals with anosmia (complete olfactory sensory loss) and 37 healthy, matched controls. Participants performed a simultaneity judgement task to determine the temporal binding window, and a multisensory object identification task with individually degraded, dynamic visual, auditory, and audio-visual stimuli. Individuals with anosmia demonstrated an increased ability to detect multisensory temporal asynchronies, represented by a narrowing of the audio-visual temporal binding window. Furthermore, individuals with congenital, but not acquired, anosmia demonstrated indications of greater benefits from bimodal, as compared to unimodal, stimulus presentation when faced with degraded, semantic information. This suggests that the absence of the olfactory sense alters multisensory integration of remaining senses by sharpening the perception of cross-modal temporal violations, independent of sensory loss etiology. In addition, congenital sensory loss may further lead to increased gain from multisensory, compared to unisensory, information. Taken together, multisensory compensatory mechanisms at different levels of perceptual complexity are present in individuals with anosmia.

  • 6. Porada, Danja K.
    et al.
    Regenbogen, Christina
    Seubert, Janina
    Freiherr, Jessica
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    Multisensory Enhancement of Odor Object Processing in Primary Olfactory Cortex2019In: Neuroscience, ISSN 0306-4522, E-ISSN 1873-7544, Vol. 418, p. 254-265Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Identification of an object based on its odor alone is inherently difficult, but becomes easier when other senses provide supporting cues. This suggests that crossmodal sensory input facilitates neural processing of olfactory object information; however, direct evidence is still lacking. Here, we tested the effect of multisensory stimulation on information processing in the human posterior piriform cortex (PPC), a region linked to olfactory object encoding. Participants were exposed to familiar objects in the form of uni-, bi-, and trimodal combinations of odors, videos, and sounds. We hypothesized that the PPC would respond to non-olfactory object information, and that activity would increase linearly with the number of senses providing relevant object information. As predicted, visual object information activated the PPC and activity increased linearly with the number of relevant sensory channels. The crossmodal response pattern thus indicates that the PPC does not exclusively respond to olfactory information, but also to crossmodal object information important for olfactory processing. The continuous activity increase suggests that the PPC further acts as a multisensory binding site where pertinent input from multiple senses results in an increased neural response to the odor object. This potentially represents a neural mechanism for the well-known behavioral improvement present in odor object recognition during concurrent crossmodal sensory stimulation.

  • 7. Sarolidou, Georgia
    et al.
    Axelsson, John
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Sundelin, Tina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; New York University, USA.
    Lasselin, Julie
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Regenbogen, Christina
    Sorjonen, Kimmo
    Lundström, Johan N.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden; Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA; University of Pennsylvania, USA.
    Lekander, Mats
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Stress Research Institute. Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.
    Olsson, Mats J.
    Emotional expressions of the sick face2019In: Brain, behavior, and immunity, ISSN 0889-1591, E-ISSN 1090-2139, Vol. 80, p. 286-291Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To handle the substantial threat posed by infectious diseases, behaviors that promote avoidance of contagion are crucial. Based on the fact that sickness depresses mood and that emotional expressions reveal inner states of individuals to others, which in turn affect approach/avoidance behaviors, we hypothesized that facial expressions of emotion may play a role in sickness detection. Using an experimental model of sickness, 22 volunteers were intravenously injected with either endotoxin (lipopolysaccharide; 2 ng/kg body weight) and placebo using a randomized cross-over design. The volunteers were two hours later asked to keep a relaxed expression on their face while their facial photograph was taken. To assess the emotional expression of the sick face, 49 participants were recruited and were asked to rate the emotional expression of the facial photographs of the volunteers when sick and when healthy. Our results indicate that the emotional expression of faces changed two hours after being made temporarily sick by an endotoxin injection. Sick faces were perceived as more sick/less healthy, but also as expressing more negative emotions, such as sadness and disgust, and less happiness and surprise. The emotional expressions mediated 59.1% of the treatment-dependent change in rated health. The inclusion of physical features associated with emotional expressions to the mediation analysis supported these results. We conclude that emotional expressions may contribute to detection and avoidance of infectious individuals and thereby be part of a behavioral defense against disease.

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