New paper! “Effects of diversity in olfactory environment on children’s sense of smell”

Diversity in children’s everyday olfactory environment may affect the development of their olfactory abilities and odor awareness. To test this, we collected data on olfactory abilities using the Sniffin’ Sticks and odor awareness with Children’s Olfactory Behaviors in Everyday Life Questionnaire in 153 preschool children and retested them one and a half year later. Parents completed an inventory on children’s exposure to a variety of odors and on their own odor awareness using the Odor Awareness Scale. We controlled for the effects of age and verbal fluency on children’s performance. We found that children’s odor identification and discrimination scores differed as a function of parental odor awareness. Although these effects were rather small, they were commensurate in size with those of gender and age. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to present evidence that diversity in children’s olfactory environment affects variability in their olfactory abilities and odor awareness. We suggest that future studies consider the long-term impact of perceptual learning out of the laboratory and its consequences for olfactory development.

Authors: Lenka Martinec Nováková, Jitka Fialová and Jan Havlíček.

Full paper available here.