Self-Ratings of Olfactory Function Reflect Odor Annoyance Rather than Olfactory Acuity

Knaapila, Antti, Tuorila, Hely, Kyvik, Kirsten O., Wright, Margaret J., Keskitalo, Kaisu, Hansen, Jonathan, Kaprio, Jaakko, Perola, Markus and Silventoinen, Karri (2008) Self-Ratings of Olfactory Function Reflect Odor Annoyance Rather than Olfactory Acuity. The Laryngoscope, 118 12: 2212-2217. doi:10.1097/MLG.0b013e3181826e43

Author Knaapila, Antti
Tuorila, Hely
Kyvik, Kirsten O.
Wright, Margaret J.
Keskitalo, Kaisu
Hansen, Jonathan
Kaprio, Jaakko
Perola, Markus
Silventoinen, Karri
Title Self-Ratings of Olfactory Function Reflect Odor Annoyance Rather than Olfactory Acuity
Journal name The Laryngoscope   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0023-852X
Publication date 2008-12
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1097/MLG.0b013e3181826e43
Volume 118
Issue 12
Start page 2212
End page 2217
Total pages 6
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher John Wiley & Sons
Language eng
Subject 1199 Other Medical and Health Sciences
Formatted abstract
Self-ratings of olfactory function often correlates poorly with results of objective smell tests. We explored these ratings relative to self-rating of odor annoyance, to odor identification ability, and to mean perceived intensity of odors, and estimated relative genetic and environmental contributions to these traits.

Participants and Methods:
A total of 1,311 individual twins from the general population (62% females and 38% males, aged 10-83 years, mean age 29 years) including 191 monozygous and 343 dizygous complete twin pairs from Australia, Denmark, Finland, and the United Kingdom rated their sense of smell and annoyance caused by ambient smells (e.g., smells of foods) using seven categories, and performed odor identification and evaluation task for six scratch-and-sniff odor stimuli.

The self-rating of olfactory function correlated with the self-rating of odor annoyance (r = 0.30) but neither correlated with the odor identification score. Quantitative genetic modeling revealed no unambiguously significant genetic contribution to variation in any of the studied traits.

The results suggest that environmental rather than genetic factors modify the self-rating of olfactory function and support earlier findings of discrepancy between subjective and objective measures of olfactory function. In addition, the results imply that the self-rating of olfactory function arises from experienced odor annoyance rather than from actual olfactory acuity.
Keyword Genetic
Enivronmental Factors
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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