The role of attention in the localization of odors to the mouth

Richard J. Stevenson*, Mehmet K. Mahmut, Megan J. Oaten

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Odors can be perceived as arising from the environment or as part of a flavor located in the mouth. One factor that may dictate where an odor is perceived to be is concurrent gustatory stimulation in the mouth. A taste may impair the ability to attend to an odor, especially if they are perceptually similar. Alternatively, salient mouth-based features of a flavor might command attention at the expense of smell. Experiment 1 and 2, using different stimulus sets, explored the impact of perceptually similar and dissimilar pairings of tastes in the mouth and odors at the nose. In each case, these were followed by judgments of the odor'slocation(mouthvs. nose). Perceptual similarity had no impact on localization judgments. Experiment 3 then manipulated the salience of the olfactory and gustatory cues and showed that each could independently shift the perceived location of an odorant-salient olfactory cues toward the nose and gustatory cues toward the mouth. These findings suggest that the salient features of a flavor may command attention at the expense of olfaction and, thereby, contribute to oral localization, with implications for flavor binding.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)247-258
    Number of pages12
    JournalAttention, Perception and Psychophysics
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


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