Are verbal associations to uncommon odors helpful in remembering these odors? Two groups of young subjects (each 12 female and 12 male) learned to associate three one-syllable nonsense words to three uncommon odors and were exposed equally often to three other odors in a same-different test. The odors in the learning condition of the first group were the odors in the same-different test in the second group and vice versa. The same words were used for learning in both groups. The order of learning and exposure was systematically varied over subgroups. Association learning performance, odor memory and odor-word association memory were measured. No significant difference in odor memory between the odors in the ``verbally associated" and the ``same-different"conditions was found. Odor memory and verbal association learning erformance were unrelated. Odor memory was almost perfect; verbalodor association memory was not. When both the targets and the distractors of the first memory test were used again the next day in a memory test with new distractors under the instruction to find only the originally learned stimuli, the odor memory for the original targets was still high for stimuli from both learning conditions. The much less frequently encountered first-day distractors were also well remembered as was shown in the large number of false alarms they produced. The implications of these findings for understanding odor memory are discussed.
|Publication status||Published - 2006|