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Chem Senses. 2015 Jan;40(1):61-9. doi: 10.1093/chemse/bju064. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

Perception of trigeminal mixtures.

Author information

CERNEC, Department of Psychology, Université de Montréal, 90, ave. Vincent-d'Indy, Montréal, Québec H2V 2S9, Canada.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Solnavägen 1, Solna, Stockholm 17177, Sweden.
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Solnavägen 1, Solna, Stockholm 17177, Sweden, Monell Chemical Senses Center, 3500 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3308, USA.
Department of Anatomy, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, 3351, boul. des Forges, C.p. 500, Trois-Rivières, Québec G9A 5H7, Canada and CÉAMS, Centre de Recherche de l'Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur de Montréal, 5400, boul. Gouin Ouest, Montréal, Québec H4J 1C5, Canada


The trigeminal system is a chemical sense allowing for the perception of chemosensory information in our environment. However, contrary to smell and taste, we lack a thorough understanding of the trigeminal processing of mixtures. We, therefore, investigated trigeminal perception using mixtures of 3 relatively receptor-specific agonists together with one control odor in different proportions to determine basic perceptual dimensions of trigeminal perception. We found that 4 main dimensions were linked to trigeminal perception: sensations of intensity, warmth, coldness, and pain. We subsequently investigated perception of binary mixtures of trigeminal stimuli by means of these 4 perceptual dimensions using different concentrations of a cooling stimulus (eucalyptol) mixed with a stimulus that evokes warmth perception (cinnamaldehyde). To determine if sensory interactions are mainly of central or peripheral origin, we presented stimuli in a physical "mixture" or as a "combination" presented separately to individual nostrils. Results showed that mixtures generally yielded higher ratings than combinations on the trigeminal dimensions "intensity," "warm," and "painful," whereas combinations yielded higher ratings than mixtures on the trigeminal dimension "cold." These results suggest dimension-specific interactions in the perception of trigeminal mixtures, which may be explained by particular interactions that may take place on peripheral or central levels.


binary mixtures; chemosensory perception; smell; trigeminal system

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