125 research outputs found

    Hedonic appreciation and verbal description of pleasant and unpleasant odors in untrained, trainee cooks, flavorists and perfumers

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    Olfaction is characterized by a salient hedonic dimension. Previous studies have shown that these affective responses to odors are modulated by physicochemical, physiological, and cognitive factors. The present study examined expertise influenced processing of pleasant and unpleasant odors on both perceptual and verbal levels. For this, performance on two olfactory tasks was compared between novices, trainee cooks, and experts (perfumers and flavorists): Members of all groups rated the intensity and pleasantness of pleasant and unpleasant odors (perceptual tasks). They were also asked to describe each of the 20 odorants as precisely as possible (verbal description task). On a perceptual level, results revealed that there were no group-related differences in hedonic ratings for unpleasant and pleasant odors. On a verbal level, descriptions of smells were richer (e.g., chemical, olfactory qualities, and olfactory sources terms) and did not refer to pleasantness in experts compared to untrained subjects who used terms referring to odor sources (e.g., candy) accompanied by terms referring to odor hedonics. In conclusion, the present study suggests that as novices, experts are able to perceptually discriminate odors on the basis of their pleasantness. However, on a semantic level, they conceptualize odors differently, being inclined to avoid any reference to odor hedonics

    Odor Perception in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and its Relationship to Food Neophobia

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    Atypical sensory functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) has been well documented in the last decade for the visual, tactile and auditory systems, but olfaction in ASD is still understudied. The aim of the present study was to examine whether children with ASD and neuro-typically (NT) developed children differed in odor perception, at the cognitive (familiarity and identification ability), sensorimotor (olfactory exploration) and affective levels (hedonic evaluation). Because an important function of the sense of smell is its involvement in eating, from food selection to appreciation and recognition, a potential link between odor perception and food neophobia was also investigated. To these ends, 10 children between 6 and 13 years old diagnosed with ASD and 10 NT control children were tested. To compare performance, 16 stimuli were used and food neophobia was assessed by the parents on a short food neophobia scale. Results revealed that (i) significant hedonic discrimination between attractive and aversive odors was observed in NT (p=0.005; d=2.378) and ASD children (p=0.042; d=0.941), and (ii) hedonic discrimination level was negatively correlated with food neophobia scores in ASD (p=0.007) but not NT children. In conclusion, this study offers new insights into odor perception in ASD children, highlighting a relationship between odor hedonic reactivity and eating behavior. This opens up new perspectives on both (i) the role of olfaction in the construction of eating behavior in ASD children, and (ii) the measurement and meaning of food neophobia in this population

    Dissociated Representations of Pleasant and Unpleasant Olfacto-Trigeminal Mixtures: An fMRI Study

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    How the pleasantness of chemosensory stimuli such as odorants or intranasal trigeminal compounds is processed in the human brain has been the focus of considerable recent interest. Yet, so far, only the unimodal form of this hedonic processing has been explored, and not its bimodal form during crossmodal integration of olfactory and trigeminal stimuli. The main purpose of the present study was to investigate this question. To this end, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used in an experiment comparing brain activation related to a pleasant and a relatively unpleasant olfacto-trigeminal mixture, and to their individual components (CO2 alone, Orange alone, Rose alone). Results revealed first common neural activity patterns in response to both mixtures in a number of regions: notably the superior temporal gyrus and the caudate nucleus. Common activations were also observed in the insula, although the pleasant mixture activated the right insula whereas the unpleasant mixture activated the left insula. However, specific activations were observed in anterior cingulate gyrus and the ventral tegmental area only during the perception of the pleasant mixture. These findings emphasized for the firs time the involvement of the latter structures in processing of pleasantness during crossmodal integration of chemosensory stimuli

    Semantic Knowledge Influences Prewired Hedonic Responses to Odors

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    Background Odor hedonic perception relies on decoding the physicochemical properties of odorant molecules and can be influenced in humans by semantic knowledge. The effect of semantic knowledge on such prewired hedonic processing over the life span has remained unclear. Methodology/Principal Findings The present study measured hedonic response to odors in different age groups (children, teenagers, young adults, and seniors) and found that children and seniors, two age groups characterized by either low level of (children) or weak access to (seniors) odor semantic knowledge, processed odor hedonics more on the basis of their physicochemical properties. In contrast, in teenagers and young adults, who show better levels of semantic odor representation, the role of physicochemical properties was less marked. Conclusions/Significance These findings demonstrate for the first time that the biological determinants that make an odor pleasant or unpleasant are more powerful at either end of the life span

    Positive relationship between odor identification and affective responses of negatively valenced odors

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    Hedonic ratings of odors and olfactory preferences are influenced by a number of modulating factors, such as prior experience and knowledge about an odor's identity. The present study addresses the relationship between knowledge about an odor's identity due to prior experience, assessed by means of a test of cued odor identification, and odor pleasantness ratings in children who exhibit ongoing olfactory learning. Ninetyone children aged 8-11 years rated the pleasantness of odors in the Sniffin' Sticks test and, subsequently, took the odor identification test. A positive association between odor identification and pleasantness was found for two unpleasant food odors (garlic and fish): higher pleasantness ratings were exhibited by those participants who correctly identified these odors compared to those who failed to correctly identify them. However, we did not find a similar effect for any of the more pleasant odors. The results of this study suggest that pleasantness ratings of some odors may be modulated by the knowledge of their identity due to prior experience and that this relationship might be more evident in unpleasant odors

    Smell and taste changes are early indicators of the COVID-19 pandemic and political decision effectiveness

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    In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments have taken drastic measures to avoid an overflow of intensive care units. Accurate metrics of disease spread are critical for the reopening strategies. Here, we show that self-reports of smell/taste changes are more closely associated with hospital overload and are earlier markers of the spread of infection of SARS-CoV-2 than current governmental indicators. We also report a decrease in self-reports of new onset smell/taste changes as early as 5 days after lockdown enforcement. Cross-country comparisons demonstrate that countries that adopted the most stringent lockdown measures had faster declines in new reports of smell/taste changes following lockdown than a country that adopted less stringent lockdown measures. We propose that an increase in the incidence of sudden smell and taste change in the general population may be used as an indicator of COVID-19 spread in the population

    Past, Present, and Future of Human Chemical Communication Research

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    Although chemical signaling is an essential mode of communication in most vertebrates, it has long been viewed as having negligible effects in humans. However, a growing body of evidence shows that the sense of smell affects human behavior in social contexts ranging from affiliation and parenting to disease avoidance and social threat. This article aims to (a) introduce research on human chemical communication in the historical context of the behavioral sciences; (b) provide a balanced overview of recent advances that describe individual differences in the emission of semiochemicals and the neural mechanisms underpinning their perception, that together demonstrate communicative function; and (c) propose directions for future research toward unraveling the molecular principles involved and understanding the variability in the generation, transmission, and reception of chemical signals in increasingly ecologically valid conditions. Achieving these goals will enable us to address some important societal challenges but are within reach only with the aid of genuinely interdisciplinary approaches

    Contribution de l’anthropologie sensorielle à l’étude du COVID-19

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    En réponse à la pandémie COVID-19, de nombreux gouvernements ont pris des mesures sans précédent pour éviter un engorgement des unités de réanimation. En raison du lourd impact sociétal et économique de ces initiatives, des indicateurs épidémiologiques précis de la propagation de la maladie sont essentiels aux autorités de santé publique. Dans le même temps, la perturbation des perceptions des odeurs et du goût ont été identifiés comme l’un des symptômes les plus spécifiques de la maladie COV..

    Relationship between odor intensity estimates and COVID-19 prevalence prediction in a Swedish population

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    International audienceIn response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, countries have implemented various strategies to reduce and slow the spread of the disease in the general population. For countries that have implemented restrictions on its population in a stepwise manner, monitoring of COVID-19 prevalence is of importance to guide the decision on when to impose new, or when to abolish old, restrictions. We are here determining whether measures of odor intensity in a large sample can serve as one such measure. Online measures of how intense common household odors are perceived and symptoms of COVID-19 were collected from 2440 Swedes. Average odor intensity ratings were then compared to predicted COVID-19 population prevalence over time i

    Recent smell loss is the best predictor of COVID-19 among individuals with recent respiratory symptoms

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    In a preregistered, cross-sectional study we investigated whether olfactory loss is a reliable predictor of COVID-19 using a crowdsourced questionnaire in 23 languages to assess symptoms in individuals self-reporting recent respiratory illness. We quantified changes in chemosensory abilities during the course of the respiratory illness using 0-100 visual analog scales (VAS) for participants reporting a positive (C19+; n=4148) or negative (C19-; n=546) COVID-19 laboratory test outcome. Logistic regression models identified univariate and multivariate predictors of COVID-19 status and post-COVID-19 olfactory recovery. Both C19+ and C19- groups exhibited smell loss, but it was significantly larger in C19+ participants (mean±SD, C19+: -82.5±27.2 points; C19-: -59.8±37.7). Smell loss during illness was the best predictor of COVID-19 in both univariate and multivariate models (ROC AUC=0.72). Additional variables provide negligible model improvement. VAS ratings of smell loss were more predictive than binary chemosensory yes/no-questions or other cardinal symptoms (e.g., fever). Olfactory recovery within 40 days of respiratory symptom onset was reported for ~50% of participants and was best predicted by time since respiratory symptom onset. We find that quantified smell loss is the best predictor of COVID-19 amongst those with symptoms of respiratory illness. To aid clinicians and contact tracers in identifying individuals with a high likelihood of having COVID-19, we propose a novel 0-10 scale to screen for recent olfactory loss, the ODoR-19. We find that numeric ratings ≤2 indicate high odds of symptomatic COVID-19 (4<10). Once independently validated, this tool could be deployed when viral lab tests are impractical or unavailable
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