Odour suppression in binary mixtures

Larry W. Cashion, A. Livermore, T. Hummel

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate


    It has been suggested that odours causing stronger trigeminal activation suppress weaker trigeminal stimuli and that mixed olfactory-trigeminal stimuli suppress odorants that only activate one of these systems. Volunteer normosmic participants (n = 20) were exposed to six odorants with varying trigeminal impact to test the hypothesis that more intense trigeminal odorants would suppress weaker trigeminal stimuli in binary odour mixtures. It was also hypothesised that stronger trigeminal odorants would dominate six-odour mixtures. The predicted linear pattern of suppression was not seen, with a quadratic model emerging from the data. Stronger trigeminal stimuli failed to dominate six-odour mixtures. Despite the fact that the major hypothesis was not supported, it can be hypothesised from this experiment that the effect of suppression in binary mixtures is reliant upon two major effects: (1) the association formed between odours and the multiple memory systems that they interact with during the encoding and recognition processes, and (2) the balance between activation of the olfactory and trigeminal systems. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)288-297
    Number of pages10
    JournalBiological Psychology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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