Document Detail

On the protheticity of olfactory pleasantness and intensity.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  9450305     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In Exp. 1, the "protheticity" of the pleasantness of a diverse set of relatively isointensive odorants was estimated using exponents from power functions fitted by an interative least squares procedure between scale values established by (a) magnitude estimation and (b) category rating and rank ordering. In Exp. 2, this procedure was applied to intensity data derived from quarter-log-step volume dilution series of two hedonically disparate odorants, furfural and methyl salicylate. The goodness of fit of the power functions was somewhat better for the intensity than for the pleasantness data. The pleasantness dimension of the diverse stimuli was slightly prothetic (respective category scaling and rank order/magnitude estimation exponents = 0.60 and 0.63). The intensity dimension of furfural was considerably more prothetic than that of methyl salicylate (respective category/magnitude estimation exponents = 0.20 and 0.68; respective rank order/magnitude exponents = 0.21 and 0.69). These data suggest that the degree of olfactory protheticity depends upon the stimuli as well as the attributes chosen for investigation and support the view that Stevens' metathetic/prothetic dichotomy has little utility in classifying the scaling attributes of odors. Whether the degree of protheticity reflects the nature or distribution of olfactory system receptive elements within the main olfactory pathway remains an empirical question which awaits a more specific understanding of the nature of olfactory coding at the level of the neuroepithelium.
R L Doty
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Perceptual and motor skills     Volume:  85     ISSN:  0031-5125     ISO Abbreviation:  Percept Mot Skills     Publication Date:  1997 Dec 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  1998-02-25     Completed Date:  1998-02-25     Revised Date:  2007-11-14    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0401131     Medline TA:  Percept Mot Skills     Country:  UNITED STATES    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1439-49     Citation Subset:  IM    
Smell and Taste Center, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia 10104, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Semantic Differential
Smell / physiology*
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Salicylates; 119-36-8/methyl salicylate; 98-01-1/Furaldehyde

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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