The long-term objective of the current research is to determine whether olfaction serves as a channel of human communication, to explore the nature of and individual differences in such communication, and to compare it with human detection and processing of conventional odors. The application tests the hypotheses that biological odors salient for individuals' safety and reproductive success (e.g., fear, sexual arousal) are more easily detected and recognized, and that experiential factors (emotional intimacy with the donor) facilitate such detection.
The specific aims are to examine: 1) olfactory discrimination and verbal identification of emotions via chemosignals, and 2) individual differences (experience, gender specificity) in sensitivity to the chemosignals. Chemosignals consisting of a mixture of aprocrine and eccrine secretions collected from men and women when they are under different emotional states will be used. A series of interrelated tasks including evaluation, ranking, and identification will be administered in a double-blind fashion. Established olfactory and emotional measures will be taken. This proposed study addresses a relatively unstudied area and may serve as a new model of olfactory research. It opens up the possibility that olfactory deficit, often conceptualized as a sensory process, may have a more direct social basis and link to mental health (affective disorder) than is currently appreciated.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
Type
Small Research Grants (R03)
Project #
5R03DC004956-03
Application #
6879129
Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZDC1-SRB-O (26))
Program Officer
Davis, Barry
Project Start
2003-05-01
Project End
2008-04-30
Budget Start
2005-05-01
Budget End
2008-04-30
Support Year
3
Fiscal Year
2005
Total Cost
$79,728
Indirect Cost
Name
Rice University
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
050299031
City
Houston
State
TX
Country
United States
Zip Code
77005
Chen, Jennifer; Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2012) Binaral rivalry in the presence of visual perceptual and semantic influences. PLoS One 7:e47317
Zhou, Wen; Hou, Ping; Zhou, Yuxiang et al. (2011) Reduced recruitment of orbitofrontal cortex to human social chemosensory cues in social anxiety. Neuroimage 55:1401-6
Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2011) Entangled chemosensory emotion and identity: familiarity enhances detection of chemosensorily encoded emotion. Soc Neurosci 6:270-6
Zhou, Wen; Jiang, Yi; He, Sheng et al. (2010) Olfaction modulates visual perception in binocular rivalry. Curr Biol 20:1356-8
Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2009) Sociochemosensory and emotional functions: behavioral evidence for shared mechanisms. Psychol Sci 20:1118-24
Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2009) Binaral rivalry between the nostrils and in the cortex. Curr Biol 19:1561-5
Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2009) Fear-related chemosignals modulate recognition of fear in ambiguous facial expressions. Psychol Sci 20:177-83
Zhou, Wen; Chen, Denise (2008) Encoding human sexual chemosensory cues in the orbitofrontal and fusiform cortices. J Neurosci 28:14416-21
Chen, Denise; Katdare, Ameeta; Lucas, Nadia (2006) Chemosignals of fear enhance cognitive performance in humans. Chem Senses 31:415-23
Chen, Denise; Dalton, Pamela (2005) The effect of emotion and personality on olfactory perception. Chem Senses 30:345-51