Mood odor identification, explicit awareness of mood odor, may be an important emotion skill and part of a complex dual processing system. It has already been shown that mood odors have significant implicit effects, effects that occur without awareness. This study applies methods for examining human individual differences in the identification of chemosignals for fear and happy, important in itself, and a key to understanding the dual processing of emotion in the olfactory system. Axillary mood odors had been collected from 14 male donors during a mood induction task. Pads were collected after 12 and 24 minutes, creating two doses. Sixty -one participants (41 females) identified the mood odor chemosignals. On a single trial, participants identified 2 doses of fear, 2 doses of happy, and a sterile control. There were 15 trials. The first analysis (rtt) showed that the population was phenotypically heterogeneous, not homogeneous, in identification accuracy. It also showed that a minimum of 10 trials was needed for test reliability. The second analysis, Growth Mixture Modeling, found three distinct groups of detectors: (1) 49.49% were consistently accurate super detectors, (2) 32.52% were accurate above chance level detectors, and (3) 17.98% were non-detectors. Bayesian Posterior Analyses showed reliability of groups at or above 98%. No differences related to mood odor valence (fear or happy), dose (collection at 12 or 24 minutes) or gender were found. Implications for further study of genetic differences, learning and function of identification are noted. It appears that many people can be reliable in explicitly identifying fear and happy mood odors but this skill is not homogeneous.
Haviland-Jones, Jeannette M.; McGuire, Terry R.; and Wilson, Patricia, "Testing for Individual Differences in the Identification of Chemosignals for Fear and Happy: Phenotypic Super-Detectors, Detectors and Non-Detectors" (2016). Psychology Faculty Work. 5.
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