Hedonicity and Memory of Odors

  •  Michel Cabanac    
  •  Marie-Claude Bonniot-Cabanac    


The capacity of human observers to remember incidentally learned olfactory sensations as a function of their
perceived pleasure/ displeasure was investigated. In the encoding phase of the experiment, the participants rated
a sequence of 24 stimuli for (i) sensory intensity, and (ii) degree of pleasure or displeasure. They were then given
two successive explicit memory tests, (i) free recall of the names of encountered odors, and (ii) yes/no
recognition of the encountered odor stimuli. The results showed higher recall and recognition accuracy for the
stimuli that had been rated higher in affective content at the time of study. These results support the hypothesis
that hedonicity is a variable that influences the encoding and storage of events in memory.

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