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New determinants of olfactory habituation

Abstract : Habituation is a filter that optimizes the processing of information by our brain in all sensory modalities. It results in an unconscious reduced responsiveness to continuous or repetitive stimulation. In olfaction, the main question is whether habituation works the same way for any odorant or whether we habituate differently to each odorant? In particular, whether chemical, physical or perceptual cues can limit or increase habituation. To test this, the odour intensity of 32 odorants differing in physicochemical characteristics was rated by 58 participants continuously during 120s. Each odorant was delivered at a constant concentration. Results showed odorants differed significantly in habituation, highlighting the multifactoriality of habituation. Additionally habituation was predicted from 15 physico-chemical and perceptual characteristics of the odorants. The analysis highlighted the importance of trigeminality which is highly correlated to intensity and pleasantness. The vapour pressure, the molecular weight, the Odor Activity Value (OAV) and the number of double bonds mostly contributed to the modulation of habituation. Moreover, length of the carbon chain, number of conformers and hydrophobicity contributed to a lesser extent to the modulation of habituation. These results highlight new principles involved in the fundamental process of habituation, notably trigeminality and the physicochemical characteristics associated.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 10:40:54 PM
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Charlotte Sinding, François Valadier, Viviana Al-Hassani, Gilles Feron, Anne Tromelin, et al.. New determinants of olfactory habituation. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7 (41047), pp.41047. ⟨10.1038/srep41047⟩. ⟨hal-01477439⟩



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