Maia A McLin



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Olfaction aided in survival by providing a means to assess if foods were safe to consume. This assessment may have increased chance of survival by decreasing the likelihood of consuming contaminated foods leading to an evolutionary advantage (Rozin & Fallon, 1987). Disgust and olfaction are not key in survival today because of current regulations that prevent the distribution of spoiled and contaminated foods. It is possible that disgust sensitivity and the perception of normally perceived pleasant odors as unpleasant act as a disadvantage in those diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. This study will examine associations between rigid perfectionism, odor detection sensitivity, perceived pleasantness of odors and disgust sensitivity. Approximately 80 undergraduate students from the University of Dayton will be assessed for odor detection sensitivity, odor identification accuracy, and complete three self-report questionnaires assessing personality traits and disgust sensitivity. Odor sensitivity will be tested with Sniffin Sticks Odor Detection Threshold test (Burghart Instruments; Hummel, Sekinger, Wolf, Pauli, & Kobal, 1997), perceived odor pleasantness with Sticks odor identification test (Burghart Instruments; Hummel et al., 1997). The three self-report measures used are the NEO Personality Inventory-3 (NEO-PI-3; McCrae, Costa & Martin, 2005), the Personality Inventory for DSM-5 (PID-5; Krueger, Derringer, Markon, Watson, & Skodol, 2012), and the Disgust Scale-Revised (Haidt, Mccauley & Rozin, 1994). It is predicted that elevated perfectionism will be associated with lower odor detection sensitivity, lower pleasantness, higher disgust scores, and higher neuroticism. This study may provide further understanding of relationships between perfectionism, disgust and olfaction, and may also help identify possible target areas for Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder treatment by changing odor perceptions.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Honors Thesis

Primary Advisor

Julie Walsh Messinger

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Olfaction and Disgust as predictors of Elevated Perfectionism