Differential human electrodermal responses to odours

Per Møller*, Garmt Dijksterhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Evaluation of the pleasantness of odours is an important function of the olfactory system. Electrodermal recordings monitor activity in the autonomic nervous system and it has been hypothesized that such measurements could be especially valuable for investigations of affective processes in the olfactory system. In this study we measured changes in skin conductance on both hands while subjects were exposed birhinally to two pleasant and two unpleasant odours. All odours were iso-intense and non-trigeminal. We wanted to test the hypothesis that skin conductance is contra laterally governed. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that unpleasant odours produce larger skin conductance responses than pleasant odours. Our results indicate that there are differential skin conductance responses to different odours, but we did not find that unpleasant odours in general produce larger skin conduction responses than pleasant odours. Neither did we find support for the hypothesis that skin conduction is contralaterally governed. Rather, our data are consistent with the existence of an ipsilateral system for the control of emotional responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-132
Number of pages4
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective neuroscience
  • Human olfaction
  • Odours
  • Pleasantness
  • Skin conductance

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