Decreased olfactory discrimination is associated with impulsivity in healthy volunteers

Herman, Aleksandra M, Critchley, Hugo and Duka, Theodora (2018) Decreased olfactory discrimination is associated with impulsivity in healthy volunteers. Scientific Reports, 8 (1). 15584 1-8. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

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 identifcation). 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 fndings extend
clinical observations to support the hypothesis that defcits 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 fndings may usefully inform the stratifcation of people at
risk of impulse-control-related problems and support planning early clinical interventions.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
School of Psychology > Psychology
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Sussex Addiction Research and Intervention Centre (SARIC)
Sussex Neuroscience
Depositing User: Alexei Fisk
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2018 13:32
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2019 14:03
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79831

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