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Olfactory Stimuli as Context Cues in Human Memory

Arnie Cann and Debra A. Ross
The American Journal of Psychology
Vol. 102, No. 1 (Spring, 1989), pp. 91-102
DOI: 10.2307/1423118
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1423118
Page Count: 12
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Olfactory Stimuli as Context Cues in Human Memory
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Abstract

Olfactory stimuli were used as context cues in a recognition memory paradigm. Male college students were exposed to 50 slides of the faces of college females while in the presence of a pleasant or an unpleasant odor. During the acquisition phase, ratings of physical attractiveness of the slides were collected. After a 48-hr delay, a recognition test was given using the original 50 slides and 50 new slides. The recognition test was conducted with either the original odor or the alternative odor present. A no-odor control group did not receive olfactory cues. The attractiveness ratings indicated that the odor variations had no effect on these social judgments. Analyses of d′ scores, hits, and false alarms for the recognition performance indicated support for the predicted interaction in which presence of the same odor at both sessions led to better overall performance.

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