Odor perception is influenced to an important extent by the expectations one has about the characteristics of that odor. Instead of focusing on the effect of cognitive processes on the final olfactory percept, the present experiment focused on the effect that cognitive processes –expectations- have on the early perceptual stage; the sniff. Visual stimuli, positive or negative pictures preceded the presentation of pleasant or unpleasant odors in mostly a congruent manner (positive – pleasant, negative – unpleasant) but sometimes in an incongruent manner (positive-unpleasant, negative – pleasant). Sniff vigor, total inhaled volume and sniff duration were expected to be mediated by expectation. The results showed that visual images have an influence on different sniff characteristics. The total inhaled volume of the odor increased when it was preceded by a positive picture compared to a negative picture, whatever odor was presented. Also, the sniff vigor slightly increased when the odor was preceded by a positive picture. People seem to use different ‘sniff patterns’ tailored to the odor they expect to perceive
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