Rachel Herz

Rachel Herz
Brown University · Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior

PhD

About

75
Publications
78,199
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4,743
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Introduction
Psychological scientist and author specializing in olfaction, emotion and motivation.

Publications

Publications (75)
Article
Full-text available
Humans have deliberately scented their environment for purpose or pleasure for millennia. In the contemporary marketplace most consumers prefer and purchase scented versions of common household products. However, the drivers of this consumer preference have not been elucidated. To explain the attraction to scent in household products we propose a n...
Article
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In public discourse, the sense of smell is typically characterized as the least important of the five senses. However, there are very little empirical data on this topic. Recently, much more attention has been brought to the sense of smell since olfactory dysfunction is a primary and often long-term symptom of COVID-19 infection. It was therefore o...
Chapter
How the sense of smell is involved in human health has been the subject of increasing inquiry over the past several decades. The two main avenues of investigation are: (1) “aromatherapy” – how the inhalation of various odors can produce positive effects on psychological and physiological wellness; (2) how abnormal decreases in olfactory sensitivity...
Article
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This perspective piece reviews the clinical condition of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is currently increasing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and recent research illustrating how olfaction is being incorporated into virtual reality (VR) platforms. I then discuss the latest work examining the potential of olfactory virtual reality (OVR)...
Article
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Daily rhythms of behavior and neurophysiology are integral to the circadian clocks of all animals. Examples of circadian clock regulation in the human brain include daily rhythms in sleep-wake, cognitive function, olfactory sensitivity, and risk for ischemic stroke, all of which overlap with symptoms displayed by many COVID-19 patients. Motivated b...
Article
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Introduction: Healthcare workers (HCW) treating COVID-19 patients are at high risk for infection and may also spread infection through their contact with vulnerable patients. Smell loss has been associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, but it is unknown whether monitoring for smell loss can be used to identify asymptomatic infection among high risk i...
Article
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Background Smell loss has been recognized as an important, and potentially early, sign of COVID-19. However, to date smell loss has only been assessed in retrospective, COVID+ cohorts, and largely through self-report. The objective of this study was to implement a daily standardized behavioral test of smell sensitivity in healthcare workers (HCW) t...
Article
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Background: Healthcare workers (HCW) treating COVID-19 patients are at high risk for infection and may also spread infection through their contact with vulnerable patients. Smell loss has been associated with SARS-CoV-2 infection, but it is unknown whether monitoring for smell loss can be used to identify asymptomatic infection among high risk ind...
Article
Research examining connections between BMI and smell and taste sensitivity in adolescents has been minimal, methodologically inconsistent, and inconclusive. We sought to address this issue with an exploratory study of smell and taste sensitivity in overweight-obese (high BMI) and normal BMI male and female adolescents (ages 12-16 years), using prev...
Article
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Seventy-one percent of US households purchase air care products. Air care products span a diverse range of forms, including scented aerosol sprays, pump sprays, diffusers, gels, candles, and plug-ins. These products are used to eliminate indoor malodors and to provide pleasant scent experiences. The use of air care products can lead to significant...
Article
Cigarette craving is a cardinal feature of smoking, which is the leading preventable cause of death. Despite its clinical relevance, there remains a pressing need to develop new approaches for controlling craving. Although olfactory cues (OCs) are especially well suited to reduce affectively charged cravings, there has been surprisingly little rese...
Article
In 2 studies, we investigated the proposition that empathy and disgust are related at a “self”-involved level. In Study 1, 42 undergraduates completed 5 personality questionnaires. Their responses were examined to assess the relationship between dispositional empathy and disgust sensitivity, in contrast to dispositional happiness. Results showed th...
Article
Olfactory sensitivity has traditionally been viewed as a trait that varies according to individual differences but is not expected to change with one's momentary state. Recent research has begun to challenge this position and time of day has been shown to alter detection levels. Links between obesity and the timing of food intake further raise the...
Article
Extensive prior research has demonstrated the interplay between emotion and eating, but there has not been an empirical examination of the effects of experimentally induced basic emotions on people’s desire for foods that vary in caloric density and taste quality. To address this issue, we used validated emotion induction manipulations to elicit fe...
Book
This is a textbook, now in its fifth edition - published by Oxford U Press. https://global.oup.com/ushe/product/sensation-and-perception-9781605356419?cc=us&lang=en& I am sorry, but I cannot send you a pdf "reprint" of the book. If you are using the book in class, we are always interested to hear what could be improved, explained more clearly, etc...
Article
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This article discusses the special features of odor-evoked memory and the current state-of-the-art in odor-evoked memory research to show how these unique experiences may be able to influence and benefit psychological and physiological health. A review of the literature leads to the conclusion that odors that evoke positive autobiographical memorie...
Article
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A review of the neuroscientific, clinical medicine, culinary, and food technology and agriculture presentations and demonstrations that were featured at the inaugural symposium of the International Society of Neurogastronomy, held at the University of Kentucky on November 7, 2015.
Article
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Introduction The Proustian memory effect—that fragrances elicit more emotional and evocative memories than other memory cues—is well established. Fragrances also potentiate a variety of psychological states from moods to motivated behavior. Consumer research has shown that pleasant, product-congruent scents enhance product appeal, that products wi...
Article
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Strohminger gives a lively and accurate critique of McGinn's book (2011) but is somewhat inaccurate herself in describing the current theoretical state of the science on disgust. My comment primarily focuses on the issues I have with McGinn's and Strohminger's discussions and briefly offers a possible unifying account of the function and meaning of...
Article
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The aims of the present study were to assess whether: (a) visceral and moral disgust share a common oral origin (taste); (b) moral transgressions that are also viscerally involving are evaluated accordingly as a function of individual differences in taste sensitivity; (c) verbal priming interacts with taste sensitivity to alter how disgust is exper...
Article
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The similarity between moral and visceral disgust is a current topic of debate. One method of investigating this issue has been to examine the use of language. Prior work has shown that the words disgust and anger are often used interchangeably to describe offense toward immoral behavior involving harm (autonomy violations), whereas "grossed out" i...
Book
This book was conceived as a tribute to one of the founders of the psychological study of the sense of smell, Professor Trygg Engen. The book is divided into four sections. The first reunites the fields of psychophysics and the perception of environmental odours and discusses the impact of odours on beliefs and expectations. The second addresses co...
Article
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Taste perception and the emotion of disgust are both processed by the anterior insular cortex. A current debate in the emotion and disgust literature is whether visceral and moral disgust responses are fundamentally the same. The purpose of the present study was therefore to test whether visceral and moral disgust would be responded to similarly as...
Chapter
Full-text available
Perfume qualities are described in musical metaphors not solely because of the aesthetic relationship between perfume and music but because there are so few specific words dedicated to olfactory experience. Anthropologists have found that in all known languages, there are fewer words that refer explicitly to our experience of smells than there are...
Article
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A systematic review of scientific experimentation addressing olfactory effects on mood, physiology and behavior was undertaken. From this review, 18 studies meeting stringent empirical criteria were then analyzed in detail and it was found that credible evidence that odors can affect mood, physiology and behavior exists. To explain these effects, p...
Article
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The interaction between language and olfaction is both contradictory and complex. On the one hand, it is more difficult to assign words to olfactory experience than to any of our other sensory perceptions, and higher-order olfactory cognition can operate without any linguistic involvement. For example, one need not have any verbal knowledge of what...
Article
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Two experiments were conducted to investigate emotional associative learning to odors and subsequent behavioral effects. In Experiment 1, participants experienced a frustration mood induction in the presence of an unfamiliar ambient odor and later worked on puzzle tests in a room scented with either the same-odor, a different-odor, or no-odor. Part...
Article
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To examine olfactory arousal threshold during sleep in comparison to an auditory tone. On night 1, participants rated odor intensity when awake and experienced olfactory stimuli during stage 1 sleep. Night 2 involved stage 2, stage 4, and rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep trials using the "staircase" threshold-detection method. Electroencephalogram, e...
Article
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The emotional and content qualities of autobiographical memories evoked by three memory cue items (campfire, fresh-cut grass, popcorn) presented in olfactory, visual and auditory form were examined using a new repeated measures paradigm. Results revealed that memories recalled by odors were significantly more emotional and evocative than those reca...
Article
To assess past behavioral reports of the emotional distinctiveness of odor-evoked memories, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to compare regions of activation during recall triggered by olfactory and visual cues that were connected to a personally meaningful memory and a comparable control cue presented in olfactory and visual f...
Article
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Three experiments were conducted to examine how verbal context and sensory stimulation interact to influence odor hedonic perception. Eight common odors were presented in their natural and synthetic forms, and verbal labels designating name and source (natural, synthetic) information were either explicitly given, self-generated, falsely provided, o...
Data
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An analysis of psychological variables involved in perfume/fragrance choices, motivations and responses in women by age.
Article
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A survey study examining the relative importance of various social and physical traits in heterosexual attraction was conducted. Data from 198 male and female heterosexual college students revealed that women ranked body odor as more important for attraction than “looks” or any social factor except “pleasantness.” Moreover, in contrast to response...
Article
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The emotional and evocative qualities of autobiographical memories evoked by odors and visual cues were compared using a new repeated-measures paradigm in which the sensory cue was presented after the memory had been retrieved by its verbal label. Memory cues were chosen to be able to elicit salient memories. Results revealed that memories recalled...
Article
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Using the definition that an illusion is observed when a stimulus is invariant but context alters its perception, we examined whether verbal context could produce olfactory illusions. To test this effect, we chose five odors with minimally fixed sources and that could be interpreted with various hedonic connotations. The odors were violet leaf, pat...
Article
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Two paired-associate memory experiments were conducted to investigate verbal coding in olfactory versus nonolfactory cognition. Experiment 1 examined the effects of switching/not switching odors and visual items to words between encoding and test sessions. Experiment 2 examined switching/not switching perceptual odors and verbal-imagine versions of...
Article
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Article
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It is well established that for most people linguistic processing is primarily a left hemisphere activity, whereas recent evidence has shown that basic odor perception is more lateralized to the right hemisphere. Importantly, under certain conditions, emotional responding also shows right hemisphere laterality. Hedonic (pleasantness) assessments co...
Article
Full-text available
It is well established that for most people linguistic processing is primarily a left hemisphere activity, whereas recent evidence has shown that basic odor perception is more lateralized to the right hemisphere. Importantly, under certain conditions, emotional responding also shows right hemisphere laterality. Hedonic (pleasantness) assessments co...
Article
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We investigated whether odors can become conditioned to emotionally salient experiences such that when later encountered they influence performance consistent with a previously associated event. To test this hypothesis, 5-year-olds were given the experience of failure/frustration on a cognitive maze in a room scented with fragrance and later given...
Article
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The purpose of the present research was to assess whether a psychoactive dose of caffeine would have differential affects on the mood dimensions of arousal versus feelings of pleasantness and whether these mood alterations would influence memory either by (1) the experience of arousal at learning and/or (2) altered and congruent mood states at lear...
Chapter
Full-text available
Olfactory perception is critical to mammalian sexual behavior. Based on parental investment theory the relative importance of olfaction compared with vision, touch, and hearing should, however, be different for human males and females. In particular, because of its link to immunological profile and offspring viability, odor should be a more importa...
Article
To test the claim that odors are the 'best' cues to memory, several cross-modal experiments were conducted in which odors were compared with verbal, visual, tactile and musical stimuli as associated memory cues. Each experiment comprised two sessions (encoding and retrieval) separated by 48 hr. At the encoding session, a series of stimuli were inci...
Article
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: To test the claim that odors are the 'best' cues to memory, several cross-modal experiments were conducted in which odors were compared with verbal, visual, tactile and musical stimuli as associated memory cues. Each experiment comprised two sessions (encoding and retrieval) separated by 48 hr. At the encoding session, a series of stimuli were in...
Article
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Odors have been shown to elicit highly emotional memories, as well as alter emotions and induce moods. A critical challenge for the uniqueness of olfactory emotional potency is a stimulus with perceived inherent emotional quality. Music and paintings are such stimuli. Notably, olfactory experiences are distinguished from auditory and visual experie...
Article
Full-text available
Olfactory information is critical to mammalian sexual behavior. Based on parental investment theory the relative importance of olfaction compared with vision, touch, and hearing should be different for human males and females. In particular, because of its link to immunological profile and offspring viability, odor should be a more important determ...
Article
Full-text available
The distinctiveness of an ambient odor was examined in relation to its success as a cue in context-dependent memory. Distinctiveness was examined in terms of both cue novelty and contextual appropriateness. Two experiments were conducted in which three different ambient odors that varied in familiarity and contextual appropriateness were manipulate...
Article
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Emotional potentiation may be a key variable in the formation of odor-associated memory. Two experiments were conducted in which a distinctive ambient odor was present or absent during encoding and retrieval sessions and subjects were in an anxious or neutral mood during encoding. Subjects' mood at retrieval was not manipulated. The laboratory mood...
Article
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We critically review the cognitive literature on olfactory memory and identify the similarities and differences between odor memory and visual-verbal memory. We then analyze this literature using criteria from a multiple memory systems approach to determine whether olfactory memory can be considered to be a separate memory system. We conclude that...
Article
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A modified paired-associate learning paradigm was used to test whether odors or verbal odor labels evoked more emotional memories. Subjects were presented with emotionally positive and negative paintings (to-be-remembered items) in association with positive and negative odors and odor labels. Painting recall and associated emotional experience were...
Article
Food-storing birds relocate scattered caches of food using surrounding features and objects as visual cues to the location of caches. Black-capped chickadees, Parus atricapillus, were observed storing food in an enclosure in which the visual cues available to the birds could be controlled. In the first experiment, distal objects on the walls of the...
Article
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This study examined the proposition that the hedonic context within which paintings are viewed interacts with the hedonic quality of paintings to determine aesthetic evaluation. Hedonic context was manipulated using twelve positive and twelve negative odor cues in three different formats (odor alone, odor + name, name alone). The hedonic quality of...
Article
Full-text available
Odor-evoked memories are well described in literature and anecdote but have yet to be experimentally characterized. The primary purpose of this study was to provide an experimentally controlled account of the nature of odor-evoked memories experienced by men and women. Two groups of 20 subjects (10 males, 10 females) were instructed to approach an...
Article
Three families of North American passerines--chickadees, nuthatches and jays--store food. Previous research has shown that memory for the spatial locations of caches is the principal mechanism of cache recovery. It has also been previously shown that the hippocampal complex (hippocampus and area parahippocampalis) plays an important role in memory...
Article
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Animals with a history of receiving psychomotor stimulants in a specific environment show enhanced activity when injected with saline and placed there. In the present study, a Pavlovian paradigm was used to compare the unconditioned and conditioned activity effects of (+)-amphetamine (0.1, 0.5, 1.0, and 5.0 mg/kg), caffeine (0.1, 1.0, 10.0, and 30....
Article
Two experiments were conducted to examine the effects of pimozide on cocaine-produced conditioning to a specific environmental context. On 8 treatment days, 12 rats were injected with cocaine (10 mg/kg i.p.) and 12 with saline prior to placement for 60 min into a test chamber outfitted with infrared emitters and detectors. Following each treatment...
Article
Trygg Engen died peacefully at his home at the age of 83 on Thanksgiving morning, November 26, 2009. Trygg’s life is a tale of human perseverance, and his survival through the Nazi occupation of Norway was a central formative experience. He was born in Oslo, Norway on February 18, 1926. Trygg was the brilliant and pioneering father and founder of t...

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Project (1)
Project
https://www.mdpi.com/journal/brainsci/special_issues/Olfactory Research in human olfactory perception has been slowly flourishing over the past decade, and has recently seen major advances and innovation in basic science and theoretical contributions as well as in clinical findings and therapies regarding smell loss. The aim of this Special Issue of Brain Sciences is to bring greater awareness and synthesis to these latest findings and showcase cutting-edge perspectives in human olfactory perception. Thus, this Issue will highlight basic, theoretical, and clinical neuroscience. Manuscripts to be considered for publication in this Issue can present new data or be review articles, and can be solo contributions or multi-laboratory collaborations. Topics can range from the latest data regarding smell loss (e.g., Covid-19) to theoretical discussions of the function of olfaction (e.g., odor and emotion, olfactory navigation), and many topics in between. Methods can include neuroimaging, biomarker sampling, behavior, and psychophysics. Survey/questionnaire data as the sole metric is discouraged. Regardless of the material presented, authors are encouraged to take a broad perceptive of the topic they cover and provide a deeper understanding of their topic area as a whole. Rachel S. Herz Guest Editor