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Influences of olfactory stimuli in facial expressions recognition: differences between the emotions and relevance of the odors valence and arousal properties

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Matheus Henrique Ferreira
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Master's Dissertation
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Instituto de Psicologia (IP/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Mirella Gualtieri; André Frazão Helene; Ana Alexandra Caldas Osório; Jaroslava Varella Valentova
Advisor: Mirella Gualtieri

Research demonstrated that olfactory stimuli can influence the identification of facial expressions, although the results are inconsistent. According to these experiments, odors can enhance the speed of the process, but only disgust and happiness were tested. The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of odorants in recognition of five facial expressions (fear, anger, happiness, disgust ad sadness). In two experiments, a reaction time task (RT) was performed meanwhile subjects were exposed to olfactory stimulation. Participants rated the properties of valence and arousal of the odors after completing the task. In the first experiment the participants performance was not different between the odorants, and a second analysis was conducted with the data organized according to the subjective hedonic valence attributed to the odors. subjective hedonic valence attributed to the odors. Results show that the facial expressions of sadness were identified significantly slower than happiness and anger in the pleasant affective stimulation, but not for the neutral and unpleasant conditions. In experiment 2 significant differences were found between the perception thresholds of happiness and sadness for the pleasant odorant, but not in the other conditions. We conclude that the influences of the olfactory stimuli in the perception of facial expressions are probably not limited to emotional congruence and incongruence effects, and are possibly influenced by the arousal of the odors. Our results of experiment 1 were more coherent when we considered valence as a dimension of approach/withdrawal. This data reinforces the importance of odor stimuli selection and analysis of the emotional reactions elicited by the odorants in each participant (AU)

FAPESP's process: 17/07050-4 - Olfactory stimuli as a modulating fator of emotional expression and recognition
Grantee:Matheus Henrique Ferreira
Support type: Scholarships in Brazil - Master