Sahar Kaouk, Madeline P. Scherer



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Evolutionarily, olfaction, or the sense of smell, was a way to detect threats (Soudry et al., 2011) and is highly involved various psychological processes including emotion (Chen & Dalton, 2005) and stress (Hoenen et al., 2017). This project aims to assess the biological sex differences in affective response to social and non-social stress, and how this then affects odor detection sensitivity, identification, hedonic ratings, and intensity ratings. This project will further the understanding of sex differences in regard to olfactory functioning, emotional regulation, in various stress conditions. Equal numbers of male and female undergraduate participants recruited from University of Dayton SONA System (N = 90) will be randomly assigned to one of two conditions: social stress or non-social stress. The participant will wear a chest heart rate monitor for the duration of the experiment. Average heart rate will be collected throughout. Participants will first complete a pre-condition administration of questionnaires and olfactory testing. Participants assigned to the social stress condition will participate in a modified version of the arithmetic section of the Trier Social Stress Test (Allen et al., 2017). Participants will be given ten minutes sequentially subtract 13 from 1,022 aloud and in front of a confederate and a camera prop. If the participant makes a mistake, the confederate will bluntly stop the participant and instruct them to start from the beginning thus inducing feelings of social evaluation. Participants assigned to the non-social stress condition will also have ten minutes to subtract the number 13 from 1,022 however on a sheet of blank paper. They will be instructed to do the arithmetic as quickly as possible without making mistakes. Following either stress-task, participants will compete post-condition olfactory testing and questionnaires.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Julie Walsh Messinger

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Good Health and Well-Being

Sex Differences in Relation to Affect and Social versus Non-Social Stress on Olfactory Functioning