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Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00313

Implicit affective rivalry: A behavioral and fMRI study combining olfactory and auditory stimulation

 Mark Berthold-Losleben1*,  Ute Habel2, Anne-Kathrin Brehl3,  Jessica Freiherr4, 5, Katrin Losleben6,  Frank Schneider2,  Katrin Amunts2, 7* and  Nils Kohn3*
  • 1Division of Mental Health Care, St. Olav's University Hospital, Norway
  • 2Institut für Gehirn, Jülich Aachen Forschungsverbund, Germany
  • 3Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Netherlands
  • 4Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, Germany
  • 5Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung (IVV), Germany
  • 6UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Norway
  • 7Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Jülich Research Centre, Germany

Aversive odors are highly salient stimuli that serve a protective function. Thus, emotional reactions elicited by negative odors may be hardly influenceable. We aim to elucidate if negative mood induced by negative odors can be modulated automatically by positively valenced stimuli.
We included 32 healthy participants (16 men) in an fMRI design combining aversive and neutral olfactory stimuli with positive and neutral auditory stimuli to test the influence of aversive olfactory stimuli on subjective emotional state and brain activation when combined with positive and neutral auditory stimuli.
The behavioral results show an interaction of negative olfactory stimuli on ratings of disgust, perceived valence of music and subjective affective state, while positive auditory stimulation did not show this interaction. On a neuronal level, we observed main effects for auditory and olfactory stimulation, which are largely congruent with previous literature. However, the pairing of both stimuli was associated with attenuated brain activity in a set of brain areas (supplementary motor area, temporal pole, superior frontal gyrus) which overlaps with multisensory processing areas and pave the way for automatic emotion regulation.
Our behavioral results and the integrated neural patterns provide evidence of predominance of olfaction in processing of affective rivalry from multiple sensory modalities.

Keywords: Music, Olfacation, fMRI, Emotion Regulation, gender

Received: 28 Jun 2018; Accepted: 30 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Gennady Knyazev, State Scientific-Research Institute of Physiology & Basic Medicine, Russia

Reviewed by:

Maxim Kireev, N.P.Bechtereva Institute of the Human Brain (RAS), Russia
Julian Keil, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Berthold-Losleben, Habel, Brehl, Freiherr, Losleben, Schneider, Amunts and Kohn. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Mark Berthold-Losleben, Division of Mental Health Care, St. Olav's University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway, mark.berthold@losleben.eu
Prof. Katrin Amunts, Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, Jülich Research Centre, Jülich, Germany, k.amunts@fz-juelich.de
Dr. Nils Kohn, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Radboud University, Nijmegen, 6525, Netherlands, n.kohn@donders.ru.nl