Olfactory Imagery

Olfactory imagery is the capacity to experience a smell, intentionally, when the appropriate stimulus is absent (e.g., sniff and imagine the smell of lemon). This is referred to as phenomenal imagery. Phenomenal imagery is difficult to study, as it relies upon self-report, which is hard to validate. Consequently, many investigators explore whether imagining an odor has measurable effects on behavior that are akin to those observed when its real equivalent odor is smelled (e.g., does imagining a smell help one to detect its real equivalent?). This is referred to as performance imagery. Performance imagery assumes the presence of an odor image, but as described in this entry, other causes may produce apparently similar results. Finally, an olfactory image may be evoked automatically and can come ...

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