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Sensitivity of Physiological Emotional Measures to Odors Depends on the Product and the Pleasantness Ranges Used.

Pichon AM, Coppin G, Cayeux I, Porcherot C, Sander D, Delplanque S - Front Psychol (2015)

Bottom Line: As this differentiation has been observed for contrasted odors (very pleasant or unpleasant), we questioned whether subjective and physiological emotional response indicators could still disentangle subtle affective variations when no clear functional distinction is made (mildly pleasant or unpleasant fragrances).Results show clear differences in physiological indicators to odors that display a wide range of reported pleasantness, but these differences almost entirely vanish when fragrances are used even though their subjective pleasantness still differed.Taken together, these results provide valuable information concerning the ability of classic verbal and psychophysiological measures to investigate subtle differences in emotional reactions to a restricted range of similar olfactory stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva Geneva, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Emotions are characterized by synchronized changes in several components of an organism. Among them, physiological variations provide energy support for the expression of approach/avoid action tendencies induced by relevant stimuli, while self-reported subjective pleasantness feelings integrate all other emotional components and are plastic. Consequently, emotional responses evoked by odors should be highly differentiated when they are linked to different functions of olfaction (e.g., avoiding environmental hazards). As this differentiation has been observed for contrasted odors (very pleasant or unpleasant), we questioned whether subjective and physiological emotional response indicators could still disentangle subtle affective variations when no clear functional distinction is made (mildly pleasant or unpleasant fragrances). Here, we compared the sensitivity of behavioral and physiological [respiration, skin conductance, facial electromyography (EMG), and heart rate] indicators in differentiating odor-elicited emotions in two situations: when a wide range of odor families was presented (e.g., fruity, animal), covering different functional meanings; or in response to a restricted range of products in one particular family (fragrances). Results show clear differences in physiological indicators to odors that display a wide range of reported pleasantness, but these differences almost entirely vanish when fragrances are used even though their subjective pleasantness still differed. Taken together, these results provide valuable information concerning the ability of classic verbal and psychophysiological measures to investigate subtle differences in emotional reactions to a restricted range of similar olfactory stimuli.

No MeSH data available.


Mean subjective ratings of (A) hedonicity, (B) familiarity, and (C) intensity of Odors and Fragrances according to pleasantness. Vertical bars denote standard errors to the mean. Significance levels for pleasantness effect: n.s.: not significant, p > 0.05; ∗p ≤ 0.05; ∗∗p ≤ 0.01; ∗∗∗p ≤ 0.001.
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Figure 1: Mean subjective ratings of (A) hedonicity, (B) familiarity, and (C) intensity of Odors and Fragrances according to pleasantness. Vertical bars denote standard errors to the mean. Significance levels for pleasantness effect: n.s.: not significant, p > 0.05; ∗p ≤ 0.05; ∗∗p ≤ 0.01; ∗∗∗p ≤ 0.001.

Mentions: The analysis performed on hedonicity, familiarity, and intensity ratings revealed a main effect of pleasantness on these three indicators [F(1,35) = 839.03, p < 0.001, = 0.96; F(1,35) = 77.98 p < 0.001, η2 = 0.69; and F(1,35) = 7.28, p = 0.011, η2 = 0.17, respectively]. Pleasant stimuli (odors and fragrances) were systematically evaluated as being more pleasant (average: 8.44) than unpleasant stimuli (1.81), confirming that a clear hedonic distinction was made (Figure 1A) based on each participant’s own evaluation. Pleasant stimuli were also perceived as being more familiar (7.43) than unpleasant stimuli (4.22; Figure 1B). The group × pleasantness interaction was significant for both hedonic and familiarity ratings [F(1,35) = 55.92, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.61; F(1,35) = 12.12, p = 0.001, η2 = 0.26], revealing a more pronounced hedonic distinction according to pleasantness for Odors (PHC p < 0.001 for hedonicity and familiarity) compared with Fragrances (PHCs p < 0.003 for hedonicity and familiarity), since unpleasant Odors were rated lower than unpleasant Fragrances (Figure 1A; PHC, p < 0.001). This interaction was not significant for intensity ratings [F(1,35) = 0.14, p = 0.709, n.s., η2 = 0.004; Figure 1C], indicating that unpleasant olfactory stimuli were more intense (7.47) than pleasant stimuli (6.92), regardless of the pleasantness spectrum (Odors or Fragrances).


Sensitivity of Physiological Emotional Measures to Odors Depends on the Product and the Pleasantness Ranges Used.

Pichon AM, Coppin G, Cayeux I, Porcherot C, Sander D, Delplanque S - Front Psychol (2015)

Mean subjective ratings of (A) hedonicity, (B) familiarity, and (C) intensity of Odors and Fragrances according to pleasantness. Vertical bars denote standard errors to the mean. Significance levels for pleasantness effect: n.s.: not significant, p > 0.05; ∗p ≤ 0.05; ∗∗p ≤ 0.01; ∗∗∗p ≤ 0.001.
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Related In: Results  -  Collection

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Figure 1: Mean subjective ratings of (A) hedonicity, (B) familiarity, and (C) intensity of Odors and Fragrances according to pleasantness. Vertical bars denote standard errors to the mean. Significance levels for pleasantness effect: n.s.: not significant, p > 0.05; ∗p ≤ 0.05; ∗∗p ≤ 0.01; ∗∗∗p ≤ 0.001.
Mentions: The analysis performed on hedonicity, familiarity, and intensity ratings revealed a main effect of pleasantness on these three indicators [F(1,35) = 839.03, p < 0.001, = 0.96; F(1,35) = 77.98 p < 0.001, η2 = 0.69; and F(1,35) = 7.28, p = 0.011, η2 = 0.17, respectively]. Pleasant stimuli (odors and fragrances) were systematically evaluated as being more pleasant (average: 8.44) than unpleasant stimuli (1.81), confirming that a clear hedonic distinction was made (Figure 1A) based on each participant’s own evaluation. Pleasant stimuli were also perceived as being more familiar (7.43) than unpleasant stimuli (4.22; Figure 1B). The group × pleasantness interaction was significant for both hedonic and familiarity ratings [F(1,35) = 55.92, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.61; F(1,35) = 12.12, p = 0.001, η2 = 0.26], revealing a more pronounced hedonic distinction according to pleasantness for Odors (PHC p < 0.001 for hedonicity and familiarity) compared with Fragrances (PHCs p < 0.003 for hedonicity and familiarity), since unpleasant Odors were rated lower than unpleasant Fragrances (Figure 1A; PHC, p < 0.001). This interaction was not significant for intensity ratings [F(1,35) = 0.14, p = 0.709, n.s., η2 = 0.004; Figure 1C], indicating that unpleasant olfactory stimuli were more intense (7.47) than pleasant stimuli (6.92), regardless of the pleasantness spectrum (Odors or Fragrances).

Bottom Line: As this differentiation has been observed for contrasted odors (very pleasant or unpleasant), we questioned whether subjective and physiological emotional response indicators could still disentangle subtle affective variations when no clear functional distinction is made (mildly pleasant or unpleasant fragrances).Results show clear differences in physiological indicators to odors that display a wide range of reported pleasantness, but these differences almost entirely vanish when fragrances are used even though their subjective pleasantness still differed.Taken together, these results provide valuable information concerning the ability of classic verbal and psychophysiological measures to investigate subtle differences in emotional reactions to a restricted range of similar olfactory stimuli.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, University of Geneva Geneva, Switzerland.

ABSTRACT
Emotions are characterized by synchronized changes in several components of an organism. Among them, physiological variations provide energy support for the expression of approach/avoid action tendencies induced by relevant stimuli, while self-reported subjective pleasantness feelings integrate all other emotional components and are plastic. Consequently, emotional responses evoked by odors should be highly differentiated when they are linked to different functions of olfaction (e.g., avoiding environmental hazards). As this differentiation has been observed for contrasted odors (very pleasant or unpleasant), we questioned whether subjective and physiological emotional response indicators could still disentangle subtle affective variations when no clear functional distinction is made (mildly pleasant or unpleasant fragrances). Here, we compared the sensitivity of behavioral and physiological [respiration, skin conductance, facial electromyography (EMG), and heart rate] indicators in differentiating odor-elicited emotions in two situations: when a wide range of odor families was presented (e.g., fruity, animal), covering different functional meanings; or in response to a restricted range of products in one particular family (fragrances). Results show clear differences in physiological indicators to odors that display a wide range of reported pleasantness, but these differences almost entirely vanish when fragrances are used even though their subjective pleasantness still differed. Taken together, these results provide valuable information concerning the ability of classic verbal and psychophysiological measures to investigate subtle differences in emotional reactions to a restricted range of similar olfactory stimuli.

No MeSH data available.