Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Hum Factors. 2003 winter;45(4):549-62.

Performance in a complex task and breathing under odor exposure.

Author information

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich, Switzerland.


We investigated the influences of odor exposure on performance and on breathing measures. The task was composed of tracking, short-term memory, and peripheral reaction parts. During rest or while performing the task, 12 participants were exposed to 4 different odors in 2 intensities. The higher intensity of the malodors induced a short-term decrement in mean inspiration flow (Vi/Ti) after stimulus onset and impaired performance in the short-term memory task, as compared with control trials; no effect was found for the positively judged odors. The study suggests that a distractor as simple as a bad smell may pull a person off task, however briefly, and may result in a detriment to performance. Actual or potential applications of this research involve designing or securing tasks in such a way that a brief withdrawal of attention does not have fatal consequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Atypon
    Loading ...
    Support Center