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Data from the behavioural experiments described in the paper: Decreased olfactory discrimination is associated with impulsivity in healthy volunteers

posted on 29.10.2018, 14:05 by Aleksandra Herman, Hugo D. Critchley, Theodora Duka
Data for paper appearing in Scientific Reports

Excel workbooks containing data collected and analysed in the paper: "Decreased olfactory discrimination is associated with impulsivity in healthy volunteers". The dataset contains sample demographic, behavioural performance on impulsivity tasks, and olfaction measures.

Abstract of the paper

In clinical populations, olfactory abilities parallel executive function, implicating shared neuroanatomical substrates within the ventral prefrontal cortex. In healthy individuals, the relationship between olfaction and personality traits or certain cognitive and behavioural characteristics remains unexplored. We therefore tested if olfactory function is associated with trait and behavioural impulsivity in nonclinical individuals.

Eighty-three healthy volunteers (50 females) underwent quantitative assessment of olfactory function (odour detection threshold, discrimination, and identification). Each participant was rated for trait impulsivity index using the Barratt Impulsiveness Scale and performed a battery of tasks to assess behavioural impulsivity (Stop Signal Task, SST; Information Sampling Task, IST; Delay Discounting).

Lower odour discrimination predicted high ratings in non-planning impulsivity (Barratt Non-Planning impulsivity subscale); both, lower odour discrimination and detection threshold predicted low inhibitory control (SST; increased motor impulsivity).

These findings extend clinical observations to support the hypothesis that deficits in olfactory ability are linked to impulsive tendencies within the healthy population. In particular, the relationship between olfactory abilities and behavioural inhibitory control (in the SST) reinforces evidence for functional overlap between neural networks involved in both processes. These findings may usefully inform the stratification of people at risk from impulse-control-related problems and support planning early clinical interventions


The project was funded by Sussex Neuroscience studentship awarded to Aleksandra Herman.