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Abstract : Given the lack of knowledge about the use of olfactory competence in the daily life of humans and about its development, this study aimed firstly to develop a questionnaire for the evaluation of 6-10 year-old Children's Olfactory Behaviours in Everyday Life (COBEL). This tool brings new insights on the children's olfactory ecology. It has satisfactory psychometric properties and is in agreement with several other measures involving real odorants (hedonic reactivity to a leasant/unpleasant odours, attention to ambient odours). Nevertheless, the COBEL questionnaire is poorly linked to the evaluation of olfactory behaviours by parents, which highlights the idiosyncrasy and the poor verbalization of daily olfactory behaviours within the family network. A gap also appeared between the COBEL questionnaire and other olfactory measures (impact of odours in a real situation, olfactory performance in a standard test). This may be due to differences in the odour processing mechanisms involved (automatic vs. conscious) and in the meaning of the context.
The second aim consisted in investigating the factors causing inter-individual variability of olfactory
behaviours and capacities in children. (1) Results reveal an improvement of most measured olfactory
performances with age (COBEL score, odour discrimination/identification, hedonic impact of odours on the liking of an object). This improvement is linked to the children's more general cognitive development. (2) Although there is no gender difference in the standard olfactory test, girls state themselves as much more
attentive and reactive to odours than boys in the COBEL questionnaire and they tend to be more affected by the implicit impact of ambient odours. Experience and socio-cultural context seem to play a role in shaping these differences. (3) Moreover, some personality traits (as evaluated by parents) are linked to the hedonic evaluation of odours by children (more positive in extraverts, more negative in neurotics and food neophobics) and to the olfactory sensitivity (extraverts are less sensitive). (4) Finally, several environmental characteristics, such as odour diversity in the domestic context, familial sex-ratio, education level and ethnic origin of the parents, are associated with variations in the children's attention and reactivity to odours and the olfactory identification and detection abilities. Overall, this study contributes to highlight that, although
classified as microsmatic, human beings use odour cues of their environment and that this use is precociously modulated by individual and environmental factors.
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Contributor : Sabine Gros <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 16, 2007 - 1:43:33 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, December 15, 2020 - 12:56:04 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Thursday, April 8, 2010 - 8:22:04 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-00162889, version 1
  • PRODINRA : 251540



Camille Ferdenzi. VARIATIONS INTERINDIVIDUELLES DES COMPORTEMENTS OLFACTIFS CHEZ LES ENFANTS DE 6-12 ANS. domain_other. Université de Bourgogne, 2007. Français. ⟨tel-00162889⟩



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