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Disgust causes specific reaction patterns, observable in mimic responses and body reactions. Most research on disgust deals with visual stimuli. However, pictures may cause another disgust experience than sounds, odors, or tactile stimuli. Therefore, disgust experience evoked by four different sensory channels was compared. A total of 119 participants received 3 different disgusting and one control stimulus, each presented through the visual, auditory, tactile, and olfactory channel. Ratings of evoked disgust as well as responses of the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, skin conductance level, systolic blood pressure) were recorded and the effect of stimulus labeling and of repeated presentation was analyzed. Ratings suggested that disgust could be evoked through all senses; they were highest for visual stimuli. However, autonomic reaction toward disgusting stimuli differed according to the channel of presentation. In contrast to the other, olfactory disgust stimuli provoked a strong decrease of systolic blood pressure. Additionally, labeling enhanced disgust ratings and autonomic reaction for olfactory and tactile, but not for visual and auditory stimuli. Repeated presentation indicated that participants disgust rating diminishes to all but olfactory disgust stimuli. Taken together we argue that the sensory channel through which a disgust reaction is evoked matters.

PubMed | University of Dresden Medical School Dresden, University of Lyon and University of Arkansas
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in human neuroscience | Year: 2014

Although the brain structures involved in integrating odorant and trigeminal stimuli are well-documented, there is still a need to clarify (1) how emotional response is represented in the human brain during cross-modal interaction between odors and trigeminal stimuli, and (2) whether the degree of congruency between the two types of stimuli influences these emotional responses and their neural processing. These questions were explored combining psychophysics, event-related potentials (ERP) and fMRI in the same group of 17 subjects under a congruent condition (intranasal carbon dioxide mixed with the smell of orange, a combination found in soda drinks, for example), and an incongruent condition (intranasal carbon dioxide mixed with the smell of rose, a combination not encountered in everyday life). Responses to the 3 constituent stimuli (carbon dioxide, orange, and rose) were also measured. Hedonic and intensity ratings were collected for all stimulations. The congruent bimodal stimulus was rated as more pleasant than the incongruent. This behavioral effect was associated with enhanced neural activity in the hippocampus and anterior cingulate gyrus, indicating that these brain areas mediate reactivation of pleasant and congruent olfactory-trigeminal associations.

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