Olfactory Imagery and Repetition Priming: The Effect of Odor Naming and Imagery Ability

Caroline Tomiczek, Richard J. Stevenson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    This study examined the impact of odor naming and imagery ability on the capacity of female participants to form odor images, as indexed by a novel olfactory repetition priming task. Experiment 1 involved three conditions - olfactory and visual imagery priming, and a no-prime control. Odor imagery priming was only obtained in good odor namers. Experiment 2 used the same conditions, but altered the nature of the hit-rate trials to test how odor imagery might facilitate performance in good odor namers. Odor imagery priming was again obtained only in good odor namers and this effect appeared to result from generic activation of olfactory processing caused by trying to imagine a smell. Experiment 3 examined whether this latter effect might be generated semantically, but no evidence for this was obtained. Together, these findings suggest that trying to form an odor image can facilitate performance by producing a generic state of activation, which only benefits existing odor-name associations. While this effect is mediated via perceptual processes it may occur independently of a conscious image.,

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)397-408
    Number of pages12
    JournalExperimental Psychology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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