Processing of disgusted faces is facilitated by odor primes: a functional MRI study.
ABSTRACT Facilitation of emotional face recognition is an established phenomenon for audiovisual crossmodal stimulation, but not for other sensory modalities. The present study used a crossmodal priming task to identify brain systems controlling olfactory-visual interactions during emotion processing. BOLD fMRI was acquired for 44 healthy subjects during an emotional face discrimination task preceded by an emotionally valenced odorant. Behavioral performance showed that recognition of disgusted faces was improved by the presentation of an olfactory stimulus irrespective of its emotional valence. No such facilitation was seen for other facial expressions. The neuroimaging data showed a selective default network responsivity to emotional faces which was modulated by odor condition. Among disgust faces, hypoactivations during trials preceded by odorants indicated the presence of priming effects. Consistent with studies investigating the brain systems associated with audiovisual emotional integration, activity modulations in clusters in fusiform gyrus, middle frontal and middle cingulate gyrus corresponded to the observed behavioral facilitation. Our study further shows modulation of signal in the anterior insula during trials combining negatively valenced odor and disgusted faces, suggesting a modality-specific mechanism for integration of the disgust response and olfaction. These results indicate the presence of a central network with modality-specific and -unspecific components modulating emotional face recognition.
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ABSTRACT: Scented cosmetic products are used across cultures as a way to favorably influence one's appearance. While crossmodal effects of odor valence on perceived attractiveness of facial features have been demonstrated experimentally, it is unknown whether they represent a phenomenon specific to affective processing. In this experiment, we presented odors in the context of a face battery with systematic feature manipulations during a speeded response task. Modulatory effects of linear increases of odor valence were investigated by juxtaposing subsequent memory-based ratings tasks - one predominantly affective (attractiveness) and a second, cognitive (age). The linear modulation pattern observed for attractiveness was consistent with additive effects of face and odor appraisal. Effects of odor valence on age perception were not linearly modulated and may be the result of cognitive interference. Affective and cognitive processing of faces thus appear to differ in their susceptibility to modulation by odors, likely as a result of privileged access of olfactory stimuli to affective brain networks. These results are critically discussed with respect to potential biases introduced by the preceding speeded response task.PLoS ONE 05/2014; 9(5):e98347. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Odors are powerful emotional stimuli influencing mood, attention and behavior. Here we examined if odors change the perception of pleasant touch. In line with the warning function of the olfactory system, we proposed that especially unpleasant odors will reduce touch pleasantness, presumably through a disgust-related mechanism. Forty-five healthy participants (mean age 23.3 +/- 3years SD, 24 females) were presented to slow (3 cm/s) and fast (30 cm/s) brush stroking delivered by a robot to the forearm. Touch pleasantness under the influence of an unpleasant odor (Civette, smelling like feces) and an intensity matched pleasant odor (Rose) was compared to an odorless control condition. In a pilot study with 30 participants (mean age 25.9 +/-6 years, 21 females), the odors were matched according to their intensity, and we studied the influence of disgust sensitivity on the perception of 4 different odor qualities. The unpleasant odor decreased touch pleasantness for both stroking velocities compared to the odorless control (p<0.005) whereas the rose odor did not change touch pleasantness significantly. Disgust sensitivity was correlated with the modulation of touch pleasantness. The pilot study revealed a significant correlation between disgust sensitivity and the perception of the unpleasant odor qualities (r = -0.56; p = 0.007), but not with any of the other odors. Unpleasant odors are powerful in modulating touch pleasantness, and disgust might be a moderating variable.PLoS ONE 03/2014; 9(3):e92975. · 3.53 Impact Factor
- Psychologica Belgica 05/2014; 54(3):282-297. · 0.47 Impact Factor