Author(s)： Yoshiaki Sugawara, Asami Shigetho, Mai Yoneda, Tomoko Tuchiya, Hiroko Yamada, Tomomi Matumura, Miki Hirano
How does the brain ultimately identify more than 10,000 odorants? How precisely can humans and their olfactory system detect and discriminate a great variety of odors and subtle differences in the molecular structures of a given aroma? In a series of studies, we have attempted to examine the relationship between mood change, odor and its psychophysiological responses, by focusing on the possible verbal (semantic) and non-verbal (skin temperature) changes in humans induced by smelling the fragrances of essential oils as well as linalool and its enantiomers. In our experimental design, the perceived sensory attributes in the participants can be represented by a sensory spectrograph: a bar graph whereby the mean of the impressions is plotted against the setting semantic impression descriptors. This article is an overview of our verbal (semantic) research results over the past decade as well as the non-verbal outcomes, which suggest that our tests of task-related sensory perception and skin temperature changes are useful for shedding more light on the finer nuances of odor discrimination and psychophysiological responses to odorants in humans. So, such information may provide clues to our long-standing questions mentioned above.
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