Odor detection sensitivity and response bias in relation to aspects of health
Chemical intolerance (CI) means that the affected individual experience symptoms from the smell of the weak concentrations of conventional chemicals in the environment that most people are not bothered by. This study aimed to examine whether response bias (beta) and sensitivity index (d´) for odor detection correlate with self-rated health, CI, stress and distress. The questionnaires that were used to answer the question were self-rated health (SRH), CI (assessed with the Chemical Sensitivity Scale), stress (Perceived Stress Scale) and distress (Symptom Check List-90). A group of 23 adult individuals between the ages of 18 to 55 years expected to vary in degree of CI were exposed to various concentration of n-butanol for a signal detection test for about 2 hours. The data processing was done by correlational analyses. The results showed no statistically significant correlations between beta and the variables SRH, CI, stress and distress, but tendencies of significant correlations between d´ and the variables SRH, CI and stress, such that individuals who were high in CI, stress and who generally felt poorly had a lower odor sensitivity (d´). These tendencies encourage continued study of the associations with larger sample size.
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