Identification of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant odors in schizophrenia

Vidyulata Kamath, Bruce I. Turetsky, Paul J. Moberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Recent work on odor hedonics in schizophrenia has indicated that patients display abnormalities in hedonic judgments of odors in comparison to healthy comparison participants. In the current study, identification accuracy for pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant odors in individuals with schizophrenia and healthy controls was examined. Thirty-three schizophrenia patients (63% male) and thirty-one healthy volunteers (65% male) were recruited. The groups were well matched on age, sex, and smoking status. Participants were administered the University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test, which was subsequently divided into 16 pleasant, 15 neutral, and 9 unpleasant items. Analysis of identification z-scores for pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant odors revealed a significant diagnosis by valence interaction. Post-hoc analysis revealed that schizophrenia participants made more identification errors on pleasant and neutral odors compared to healthy controls, with no differences observed for unpleasant odors. No effect was seen for sex. The findings from the current investigation suggest that odor identification accuracy in patients is influenced by odor valence. This pattern of results parallels a growing body of literature indicating that patients display aberrant pleasantness ratings for pleasant odors and highlights the need for additional research on the influence of odor valence on olfactory identification performance in individuals with schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-35
Number of pages6
JournalPsychiatry research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 15 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Anhedonia
  • Hedonics
  • Olfaction
  • Olfactory
  • Pleasantness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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