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A new method for measuring reaction times for odour detection at iso-intensity: Comparison between an unpleasant and pleasant odour

Jacob, Timothy John Claud and Wang, Liwei 2006. A new method for measuring reaction times for odour detection at iso-intensity: Comparison between an unpleasant and pleasant odour. Physiology & Behavior 87 (3) , pp. 500-505. 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.11.018

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Abstract

A psychophysical detection test was developed to measure the reaction time of human subjects to a pleasant and an unpleasant odour. The response latencies to stimulation with a malodour (valeric acid) and pleasant odorant (amyl acetate) were compared over a range of different stimulus strengths. By expressing reaction time as a function of detection rate, the responses to the two odours can be compared at iso-intensity across the concentration range. This is the first study that allows odorants to be compared at the same intensity over a range of concentrations. The malodour valeric acid was detected more rapidly than amyl acetate; at the 50% detection level the reaction time for the detection of amyl acetate was 1.74 s compared 1.36 s for valeric acid (380 ms or 22% faster). Women were significantly faster than men at detecting both the unpleasant (by 18%) and pleasant (by 26%) odour at the 50% detection level and this disparity increased with decreasing stimulus strength. In conclusion, we demonstrate the ability of a new method for the measurement of reaction times to odour detection to discriminate between two different odours — a malodour and a non-malodour.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0031-9384
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 06:35
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/62375

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