A mnemonic theory of odor perception

Author: Stevenson, R.J.; Boakes, R.A.

Description: The psychological basis of odor quality is poorly understood. For pragmatic reason, descriptions of odor quality generally rely on profiling odors in terms of what odorants they bring to mind. It is argued here that this reliance on profiling reflects a basic property of odor perception, namely that odor quality depends on the implicit memories that an odorant elicits. This is supported by evidence indicating that odor quality as well as one’s ability to discriminate odors is affected by experience. Developmental studies and cross-cultural research also point to this conclusion. In this article, these findings are reviewed and a model that attempts to account for them is proposed. Finally, the model’s consistency with both neurophysiological and neuropsychological data is examined.

Subject Headings: Humans; Memory/physiology; Psychological Theory; Smell/physiology

Keywords: A mnemonic theory of odor perception

Publication year: 2003

Journal or book title: Psychological Review

Volume: 110

Issue: 2

Pages: 340-364

Find the full text : https://psycnet.apa.org/doiLanding?doi=10.1037/0033-295X.110.2.340

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2425