Perceptual stability in olfactory experiences



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Tartu Ülikool


Olfaction refers to our sense of smell and the act or process of smelling. Unlike in vision, perceptual experiences of the same object can vary considerably without one experience being obviously better than any other. In this thesis, I consider whether olfactory experiences can be perceptually stable where perceptual stability is a limiting factor on such variation. I first consider the ‘perceptual constancy model’ of perceptual stability. Examples of everyday peculiar experiences in olfaction demonstrate that the perceptual constancy model is not sensitive to the variation which is necessary in olfaction. I then introduce what I call the template matching model and argue that this model can provide a satisfactory account of perceptual stability. According to the template matching model , perceptually stable olfactory experiences have two core characteristics: appropriateness and consistency. This means that an olfactory experience is appropriate if there is a match of patterns between the current and previous instances when the odor molecule is being perceived, and if the current experience fits into an overall set of prior olfactory experiences.



filosoofia, taju, haistmine, philosophy, perception, olfaction