Identification of odors of edible and nonedible stimuli as affected by age and gender

Behav Res Methods. 2008 Aug;40(3):752-9. doi: 10.3758/brm.40.3.752.


This study investigated cued odor identification performance with a set of 64 natural common odors (half of edible and half of nonedible stimuli) in three groups of participants: one group of 30 young adults (mean age 25.3 years, range 18-30, SD 3.1) and two groups of older adults-20 young-old (mean age 64.4 years, range 60-69, SD 2.8) and 21 old-old (mean age 74.6 years, range 70-79, SD 2.5). The results showed that 49 of the 64 odors were correctly identified by over 70% of the participants in all groups. The odor identification performance of the young-old adults did not differ from that of the young adults. However, the oldest group showed a significant loss of performance in the task. Women in the young-old group performed better than men, whereas no gender differences were found in the other two age groups. The data obtained in this study will be useful for further perceptual and memory studies conducted in the olfactory modality with young as well as with older participants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odorants*
  • Sex Factors
  • Smell*