Sugiyama H, Ayabe-Kanamura S, Kikuchi T, 2006, "Are olfactory images sensory in nature?" Perception 35(12) 1699 – 1708
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Are olfactory images sensory in nature?
Haruko Sugiyama, Saho Ayabe-Kanamura, Tadashi Kikuchi
Received 12 April 2005, in revised form 17 January 2006
Abstract. We investigated the features of olfactory mental images by comparing odour images with perceptual and semantic representations. Participants who were assigned to three groups made similarity judgments about 17 common odours by smelling odours, imagining odours, or on the basis of the meaning of odour source names. In the smelling group, every pair of odours was compared. In the imagining group, imagined odours were compared twice, both before and after associative learning of the odour/name combinations. In the meaning group, the odour source names were compared in terms of general word meanings. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling analysis was applied to each group of similarity data and three-dimensional sensory, mental, and semantic spaces were composed. 17 elements in the mental and semantic spaces were superimposed onto the sensory space by Procrustes rotation. We found that the averaged distances of the 17 elements between the sensory and the mental spaces (either before or after learning) were smaller than those between the sensory and semantic spaces. We suggest that odour images have sensory features, especially after associative learning between perceived odours and their names.
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