A preliminary investigation of olfactory function in olfactory and auditory-verbal hallucinators with schizophrenia, and normal controls

Richard J. Stevenson*, Robyn Langdon

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Introduction. It is well established that people with schizophrenia have impaired olfactory perception. However, another olfactory abnormality that occurs in schizophreniaolfactory hallucinations (OHs)has received almost no attention. Methods. This preliminary study compared a small sample of olfactory (OH; n=14) and auditory-verbal (AVH; n=11) hallucinators with schizophrenia, with matched healthy controls (NC; n=21), on tests of odour detection threshold, identification, and hedonics, and bespoke tests relating to possible causes of OHs. Results. Both OH and AVH participants were equally impaired on tests of odour identification, but neither had any impairment in detection. However, although the AVH group had hedonic impairments, these were not evident in the OH and NC groups. Examination of the possible causes of OHs revealed abnormalities in olfactory habituation. In addition, we observed a far greater rate of past episodes of brief unconsciousness in the OH group. Conclusions. The presence of habituation deficits and past episodes of brief unconsciousness, and absence of olfactory affective impairment, have not been identified before as correlates of OHs, suggesting these factors may be worthy of further investigation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)315-333
    Number of pages19
    JournalCognitive Neuropsychiatry
    Volume17
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012

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