Richard J Stevenson

Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (134)380.05 Total impact

  • Source
    John Prescott, Richard Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: The key to effective perception is that sensory information is interpreted as qualities that belong to the object itself. Cross-modal sensory integration is frequently inferred from the influence of one modality on responses to another. This chapter describes three types of centrally based interaction. Two of these, somatosensory-olfactory interactions involving texture, and interactions between taste and smell, occur within the mouth, while the other such as the impact of external visual and auditory cues on flavor perception do not. Human flavor learning can be divided into two basic categories, depending upon whether its outcome involves a perceptual or an affective change. Several studies examined the impact on eating behavior from damaging one of the three senses involved in oral flavor perception. The rise of molecular or “modernist” cuisine has been based to a large extent on understanding and utilizing the experience-dependent interactions that have been discussed here.
    Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation, 3rd edited by R.L. Doty, 06/2015: chapter Chemosensory Integration and the Perception of Flavor; John Wiley & Sons.
  • Alex Russell, Richard J Stevenson, Anina N Rich
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    ABSTRACT: Odors are often difficult to identify, and can be perceived either via the nose or mouth ("flavor"; not usually perceived as a "smell"). These features provide a unique opportunity to contrast conceptual and perceptual accounts of synesthesia. We presented six olfactory-visual synesthetes with a range of odorants. They tried to identify each smell, evaluate its attributes and illustrate their elicited visual experience. Judges rated the similarity of each synesthetes' illustrations over time (test-retest reliability). Synesthetic images were most similar from the same odor named consistently, but even inconsistently named same odors generated more similar images than different odors. This was driven by hedonic similarity. Odors presented as flavors only resulted in similar images when consistently named. Thus, the primary factor in generating a reliable synesthetic image is the name, with some influence of odor hedonics. Hedonics are a basic form of semantic knowledge, making this consistent with a conceptual basis for synaesthetic links.
    Cognitive neuroscience 04/2015; DOI:10.1080/17588928.2015.1035245 · 2.38 Impact Factor
  • Mehmet K Mahmut, Richard J Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: It has long been suspected that attentional processes differ between olfaction and the other senses. Here, we test whether voluntary dishabituation, seen, for example, when we re-attend to the ticking of a clock, can occur in olfaction. Participants were seated in an odorized room, where at various intervals they had to evaluate what they could smell. An experimental group had one nostril open and the other closed, except during the evaluations, so that the closed side was subject to centrally driven habituation, but not peripheral adaptation. A control group had both nostrils closed except during evaluations. Following exposure, the experimental group could not report the room's odor in either the centrally habituated nostril (i.e., that remained closed) or the nostril that remained open, while the control group could. This effect could result from a number of causes, including olfaction's unique neuroanatomy, functional constraints imposed by detecting volatile chemicals, and as a consequence of limited cortical resources, with implications for the functional value of consciousness. © 2015 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.
    Cognitive Science A Multidisciplinary Journal 03/2015; DOI:10.1111/cogs.12222 · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the relationship between baseline neuropsychological functioning and 18-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) in intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE). We hypothesized relationships between dominant temporal lobe hypometabolism and verbal memory and between nondominant temporal lobe hypometabolism and nonverbal memory in line with the lateralized material-specific model of memory deficits in MTLE. We also hypothesized an association between performance on frontal lobe neuropsychological tests and prefrontal hypometabolism. Thirty-two patients who had undergone temporal lobectomy for treatment of MTLE and who completed both presurgical FDG-PET and comprehensive neuropsychological investigations with widely used standardized measures were included. Age-adjusted composite measures were calculated for verbal memory, nonverbal memory, relative material-specific memory, IQ, executive function, attention/working memory, and psychomotor speed. Fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography was analyzed with statistical parametric mapping (SPM) to identify hypometabolism relative to healthy controls. Pearson's correlation was used to determine the relationship between regions of hypometabolism and neuropsychological functioning. Dominant temporal lobe hypometabolism was associated with relatively inferior verbal memory, while nondominant temporal lobe hypometabolism was associated with inferior nonverbal memory. No relationship was found between performance on any frontal lobe measures and prefrontal hypometabolism. Statistical parametric mapping-quantified lateralized temporal lobe hypometabolism correlates with material-specific episodic memory impairment in MTLE. In contrast, prefrontal hypometabolism is not associated with performance on frontal lobe measures. We suggest that this is because frontal lobe neuropsychology tests may not be good measures of isolated frontal lobe functioning.
    Epilepsy & Behavior 02/2015; 44C:136-142. DOI:10.1016/j.yebeh.2015.01.023 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined the effectiveness of a self-directed video-based version of the 1-2-3 Magic parenting program in reducing dysfunctional parenting and child problem behaviors. Eighty-four parents of children aged 2-10 were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (n = 43) or the waitlist control group (n = 41). Participants in the intervention group reported significantly less problem behaviors for their children, and significantly less dysfunctional parenting, at post-intervention when compared to the control group. The results were maintained at 6-month follow-up. There was no significant change on measures of parental adjustment for either group. The current results provide preliminary support for the conclusion that the video-based self-directed version of the 1-2-3 Magic parenting program is suitable as an entry-level intervention in a multi-level intervention model and is suitable for inclusion in a population approach to parenting program delivery. The full article will be available via this link until 05 April 2015: http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1QXsM1KMd8t4i
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 01/2015; 66C. DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2015.01.003 · 3.85 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Gesualdo M Zucco, Konstantinos Priftis, Richard J. Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: This mini-review briefly documents the phenomenon of blindsight and investigates evidence for a comparable state in olfaction. Blindsight evokes an appropriate response to a visual stimulus without any conscious visual experience or awareness of that event. For olfaction, we describe many routine aspects of perception that may occur without conscious awareness, arguably paralleling key aspects of blindsight. We then describe the limited neuropsychological evidence suggesting that people can apparently respond appropriately to odours that they cannot subjectively smell – what we would term “blindsmell”. Keywords • Blindsight • Blindsmell • Awareness
    Translational Neuroscience 01/2015; DOI:10.1515/tnsci-2015-0002 · 0.72 Impact Factor
  • Richard J Stevenson, Mehmet Mahmut
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    ABSTRACT: When participants perceive flavor they do not recognise the role of smell. We examined two possible accounts of why: (1) a common attentional channel activated by taste; and (2) prior learning between taste and smell. Participants were asked to sniff food-related odors with a fluid in their mouth and profile each odor after expectorating. This process was later repeated for each odor, with some odors experienced with water on both occasions, and others with water on one occasion and sucrose (weak or strong) on the other. We investigated how reliable these odor profiles were and whether they were influenced by prior odor-taste learning (indexed by odor sweetness). For non-sweet smells, the presence of a tastant significantly improved profile reliability relative to water in the mouth. For sweet smells, tastant had no effect, which we suggest represents a cancelling out of the beneficial effects of the common attentional channel by the detrimental effects of prior learning. Thus, both mechanisms may contribute to masking the modal identity of smell thereby contributing to flavor binding.
    Psychonomic Bulletin & Review 12/2014; DOI:10.3758/s13423-014-0785-0 · 2.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent findings indicate that parents, in the presence of disgust elicitors, exhibit exaggerated behavioral avoidance and direct expressions of disgust toward younger children. Here we examine whether other communication channels—vocalizations and gestures—are also used to entrain disgust. We also explore whether parents transmit hand hygiene practices in a similar manner. Children’s disgust responses factored into two discrete components—expressive and felt disgust. Variance in child expressive disgust, when tested alone, was explained by a combination of parental facial and vocal disgust, moderated by child age. Children’s felt disgust, when tested alone, was weakly related to parental self-reports of disgust. Hand hygiene transmission (HHT) was observed and directed toward younger children (2–3 years). Parents who demonstrated HHT also directed more disgust-related behaviors towards their child. The age-moderated effects here suggest parents selectively direct facial and vocal expression of disgust toward young children and this has detectable consequences on their disgust behavior.
    The Psychological record 12/2014; 64(4). DOI:10.1007/s40732-014-0044-9 · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    Frontiers in Psychology 11/2014; 5:1372. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01372 · 2.80 Impact Factor
  • Mairead Brannigan, Richard J Stevenson, Heather Francis
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    ABSTRACT: Less sensitive interoception for hunger and fullness has been observed in people who consume a diet rich in saturated fat and added sugar. In this study we examined whether healthy young people who routinely consume such diets, also demonstrate less sensitive thirst interoception. Participants, varying primarily in diet, were made thirsty by consuming salted chips and later provided with ad libitum access to water, with thirst ratings obtained throughout. A self-report measure of interoceptive awareness was also included plus measures to determine eating habits, memory and executive function. A diet reported as richer in saturated fat and added sugar (an HFS diet) was associated both with less sensitive thirst interoception and with greater attention to somatic signs. Evidence of poorer hippocampal-sensitive learning and memory was also detected. Poorer sensitivity to interoceptive cues appears to be a reliable correlate of an HFS diet and its causal origins are discussed. Copyright © 2014. Published by Elsevier Inc.
    Physiology & Behavior 11/2014; 139. DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.11.050 · 3.03 Impact Factor
  • Megan J. Oaten, Richard J. Stevenson, Trevor I. Case
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    ABSTRACT: Experiencing the emotion of disgust leads to delayed up-regulation of immune-related functions, increased core-body temperature and reduced appetite. These changes parallel those of the acute phase response, which occurs when a pathogen is detected by the immune system. Here we examined whether a further predicted aspect of the acute phase response is evident following disgust induction, namely increased pain sensitivity. Participants attended a two-session experiment. On one session they experienced an emotion induction (being randomly assigned to either disgust, negative or positive groups) and on the other they received a neutral control induction. Before and after each induction, and at 15 and 30 min post-induction, participants engaged in a cold-pressor task, rating pain intensity at 10 s intervals for 90 s on each occasion. Relative to neutral control and pre-test, average pain intensity decreased then increased across time following the disgust induction, with the reverse pattern in the negative and positive emotion inductions. These findings are the first to suggest that disgust may lead to an increase in pain sensitivity over a time course paralleling changes observed for core-body temperature and immune-related function, although the mechanisms underpinning these effects remain to be identified.
    Physiology & Behavior 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.10.023 · 3.03 Impact Factor
  • Richard J Stevenson, Mehmet Mahmut
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    ABSTRACT: Visual experience is information rich, but only a small proportion is available for later access. We tested for this distinction in olfaction. In two experiments (E1&2), participants undertook trials rating an odor's features (e.g., how banana-like?), the during-smelling-profile, followed by an after-smelling-profile, upon the odor's removal. On some trials during and after-smelling-profiles were identical and on others they were different. Each trial with a particular odor was repeated. For half the odors both trials were identical (congruent) and for the remainder, one was different and the other identical (incongruent). Crucially, the after-smelling-profile was always the same for each odor, allowing reliability to be measured. E1&2 revealed that incongruent profiles were the least reliable. Attempting to access particular odor features in an odor's absence is harder if those features were not attended during smelling. This suggests more information is available during smelling, than can be accessed after the odors removal.
    Consciousness and Cognition 10/2014; 30C:210-219. DOI:10.1016/j.concog.2014.09.012 · 2.31 Impact Factor
  • Richard Stevenson, Megan Oaten, Trevor Case, Betty Repacholi
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    ABSTRACT: Children may be prepared to associate adult disgust reactions with adult disgust elicitors. To test this, three-year olds (and adults) were presented with two images and an emotive vocalization. The images and vocalizations included stimuli adults found disgusting, fear-provoking, and sad. On one set of trials, the main dependent variable (DV) was time spent looking at each image and on a second set of repeat trials the DV was knowledge of image-sound matches. Fear and disgust vocalizations were both more effective at orienting a child's attention to adult fear and disgust images, than sad vocalizations. Parental disgust sensitivity was associated with this effect, moderated by explicit matching knowledge. Matching knowledge was poor in children and good in adults. These data suggest that in children, fear and disgust vocalizations may both promote attention to stimuli that adults find disgusting and/or fear-provoking, suggesting that "preparedness" may not be wholly emotion-specific.
    The Journal of General Psychology 10/2014; 141(4):326-347. DOI:10.1080/00221309.2014.938720 · 1.04 Impact Factor
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    Richard J. Stevenson, John Prescott
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    ABSTRACT: Cognition influences what, when and how much we eat, which in turn affects the brain and hence cognition. In this overview, focusing mainly on the human literature, we start by examining cognitive influences on food and eating. This includes food preferences and choices (e.g., effects of learning, advertising, and cultural taboos), food habits relating to when and how much to eat (e.g., the concept of meals, dieting, and hunger strikes), the perception of food (e.g., the influence of appearance, food labels, and conceptions of naturalness), and how food perception is influenced by expertise. We also review how these various influences are disrupted by abnormalities of cognition (e.g., Gourmand syndrome, amnesia, and anorexia nervosa). The second part of the overview focuses on how diet affects cognition. We start by looking at the acute effects of diet, notably the impact of breakfast on cognitive performance in children. This is followed by a review of the effects of extended dietary exposures—years and lifetimes of particular diets. Here we look at the impacts of protein-energy malnourishment and Western-style diets, and their different, but adverse affects on cognition, and the beneficial effects on cognition of breast-feeding and certain dietary practices. We then outline how diet and cooking may have allowed the evolution of the large energy-hungry human brain. This overview serves to illustrate the multiple interactions that exist between cognition and diet, their importance to health and disease, and their impact on thinking about the role of conscious processes in decision making.For further resources related to this article, please visit the WIREs website.Conflict of interest: The authors have declared no conflicts of interest for this article.
    Wiley interdisciplinary reviews. Cognitive science 07/2014; 5:463-475. DOI:10.1002/wcs.1290 · 0.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the effectiveness of the 1-2-3 Magic parenting program, a brief cognitive-behavioral program, when delivered to large groups of caregivers. The effectiveness of two versions of the programs in reducing child problem behaviors and dysfunctional parenting, and the effect on emotion-related parenting style, were examined. Ninety-two participants with 2-12-year-old children were randomly assigned to one of three groups: DVD (n = 31); Emotion-coaching (EC) (n = 31); or Waitlist-control (n = 30). Both intervention groups reported significantly decreased child problem behaviors, dysfunctional parenting, parental depression and parental stress at post-intervention as compared to the control group. Additionally, the DVD group reported decreased parental anxiety, and the EC group reported a decrease in emotion-dismissing parenting style. Emotion-coaching parenting style remained unchanged for all groups at post-intervention. The results were maintained after three months. After two years, all intervention effects were maintained for the DVD group. For the EC group, effects were maintained on the main outcome variables. The results suggest that both 1-2-3 Magic programs are effective at reducing child problem behavior and dysfunctional parenting when delivered to large groups of caregivers, and that both programs are suitable for a broad delivery approach. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Behaviour Research and Therapy 05/2014; 58C:52-64. DOI:10.1016/j.brat.2014.05.004 · 3.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the cognitive profile of structural occipital lobe epilepsy (OLE) and whether verbal memory impairment is selectively associated with left temporal lobe hypometabolism on [18F]-fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). Nine patients with OLE, ages 8–29 years, completed presurgical neuropsychological assessment. Composite measures were calculated for intelligence quotient (IQ), speed, attention, verbal memory, nonverbal memory, and executive functioning. In addition, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) was used as a specific measure of frontal lobe functioning. Presurgical FDG-PET was analyzed with statistical parametric mapping in 8 patients relative to 16 healthy volunteers. Mild impairments were evident for IQ, speed, attention, and executive functioning. Four patients demonstrated moderate or severe verbal memory impairment. Temporal lobe hypometabolism was found in seven of eight patients. Poorer verbal memory was associated with left temporal lobe hypometabolism (p = 0.002), which was stronger (p = 0.03 and p = 0.005, respectively) than the association of left temporal lobe hypometabolism with executive functioning or with performance on the WCST. OLE is associated with widespread cognitive comorbidity, suggesting cortical dysfunction beyond the occipital lobe. Verbal memory impairment is selectively associated with left temporal lobe hypometabolism in OLE, supporting a link between neuropsychological dysfunction and remote hypometabolism in focal epilepsy.A PowerPoint slide summarizing this article is available for download in the Supporting Information section here.
    Epilepsia 04/2014; DOI:10.1111/epi.12623 · 4.58 Impact Factor
  • Richard J. Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: This paper examines the applicability of the object concept to the chemical senses, by evaluating them against a set of criteria for object-hood. Taste and chemesthesis do not generate objects. Their parts, perceptible from birth, never combine. Orthonasal olfaction (sniffing) presents a strong case for generating objects. Odorants have many parts yet they are perceived as wholes, this process is based on learning, and there is figure-ground segregation. While flavors are multimodal representations bound together by learning, there is no functional need for flavor objects in the mouth. Rather, food identification occurs prior to ingestion using the eye and nose, with the latter retrieving multimodal flavor objects via sniffing (e.g., sweet smelling caramel). While there are differences in object perception between vision, audition, and orthonasal olfaction, the commonalities suggest that the brain has adopted the same basic solution when faced with extracting meaning from complex stimulus arrays.
    Cognitive Science A Multidisciplinary Journal 02/2014; 38(7). DOI:10.1111/cogs.12111 · 2.59 Impact Factor
  • Lucy Braude, Richard J Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: Watching television (TV) while eating tends to increase food intake, but why this occurs is not well understood. Here, we examined TV's effects on sensory specific satiety (SSS), introception (i.e., hunger/fullness), mood and other variables, in females who all ate one snack meal with TV and another without TV. To manipulate the development of SSS, participants were assigned either to a group receiving a single type of snack food or one receiving four types. Everyone ate more with TV. More food items were eaten in the group offered multiple snack types. In the group eating a single snack type with TV, hedonic ratings indicated that SSS did not develop and this was associated with greater food intake. Irrespective of group, more food had to be consumed to generate the same shift in hunger/fullness when eating with TV, relative to no TV. TV exerted less effect on food intake both if it improved mood and if participants were unfamiliar with the TV show, and a greater effect if participants were frequent TV viewers. We suggest that TV can affect several processes that normally assist the voluntary regulation of food intake.
    Appetite 01/2014; 76. DOI:10.1016/j.appet.2014.01.005 · 2.69 Impact Factor
  • Richard J Stevenson, Laurie A Miller, Ky McGrillen
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    ABSTRACT: Lesions of the insula can affect olfaction and gustation. Here, we examined the effect of insula lesions on taste and taste-like experiences generated via smelling (i.e., odor-induced tastes) in patients with focal insula lesions and intact olfaction. From a set of 16 patients with lesions to the insula, we found 7 (6 with right-sided lesions) who performed normally on various olfactory measures. These were compared to 42 normal control subjects on tests of gustatory and odor-induced taste perception as well as control measures. The patients were impaired relative to controls on most gustatory measures. They were also impaired on tests of odor-induced taste perception, primarily for stimuli presented on the left side. Examining cases individually revealed evidence of a dissociation: two patients exhibited no impairment in odor-induced taste perception in spite of gustatory deficits. Together, these findings suggest that the insula mediates taste recognition, hedonics, and intensity judgments as well as odor-induced taste perception. However, the areas responsible for aspects of taste perception and those responsible for odor-induced taste do not fully overlap each other and they are also independent of olfactory areas.
    Neurocase 12/2013; DOI:10.1080/13554794.2013.860175 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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    Travis M. Bettison, Mehmet K. Mahmut, Richard J. Stevenson
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    ABSTRACT: This study investigated the relationship between psychopathy and tests presumed sensitive to orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) function in a non-criminal student sample. While converging lines of evidence indicate OFC-associated dysfunction in criminal psychopaths, few studies have investigated whether non-criminal psychopaths manifest similar deficits. Psychopathic traits were indexed using the Self-Report Psychopathy scale and the “Sniffin' Sticks” and Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) were employed as neuropsychological measures of OFC function. The results showed higher degrees of psychopathy were significantly associated with poorer olfactory discriminative ability and poorer IGT performance. The discussion focuses on what these findings contribute to the understanding of the psychopathy and OFC relationship, suggesting the degree of OFC-associated dysfunction may be one differentiating factor between criminal and non-criminal psychopaths.
    Chemosensory Perception 12/2013; 6(4). DOI:10.1007/s12078-013-9157-9 · 1.37 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
380.05 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2000–2015
    • Macquarie University
      • Department of Psychology
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2012
    • University of Padova
      • Department of General Psychology
      Padova, Veneto, Italy
  • 1995–2006
    • University of Sussex
      • School of Psychology
      Brighton, ENG, United Kingdom
  • 1998–2002
    • University of Sydney
      • School of Psychology
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • 1997
    • University of Otago
      • Centre for Sensory Science Research
      Taieri, Otago Region, New Zealand