Unilateral olfactory perception and magical ideation

C Mohr, C Rohrenbach, M Laska, P Brugger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


We assessed olfactory detection thresholds and discrimination abilities in 40 healthy right-handers (20 women and 20 men). All subjects were also required to complete the Magical Ideation (MI) scale, a well-validated 30-item schizotypy inventory. Over both nostrils, we found elevated thresholds for subjects with high MI scores (at or above the median score of 9.0) compared to those with low scores. In men but not women, specifically left-nostril acuity was inversely correlated to MI raw scores. MI was unrelated to olfactory discrimination performance. These results suggest an association, at least in healthy men, between even moderate signs of schizotypy and deficits in odor detection. The selective impairment of left-nostril performance adds to the growing evidence for left temporal lobe functional abnormalities in people high on MI. This laterality effect is known from previous studies in patients with schizophrenia. However, as a rule, in psychiatric patients olfactory identification rather than simple detection performance was found to be impaired, indicating that the integration of odor information is affected at different levels of processing in schizotypy compared to schizophrenia. Work with completely normal subjects may reasonably complement clinical studies of olfactory perception. Among its advantages are the good subject compliance and the absence of medication effects.
Translated title of the contributionUnilateral olfactory perception and magical ideation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255 - 264
Number of pages10
JournalSchizophrenia Research
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Elsevier


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