Human olfaction at the intersection of language, culture and biology

Samenvatting

Philosophers, biologists and anthropologists alike have pondered why humans are limited in their sense of olfaction. Olfactory experiences seem to be "ineffable", difficult or even impossible to put into words. Over a century of research reinforces this conjecture, leading scholars to conclude we have an attenuated sense of smell (e.g. Shepherd, 2004). Olfaction is said to be important for autobiographical memory and emotion (which are processed together in the limbic system) but not for language or semantics (processed in neocortex) (e.g. Lorig, 1999).

But there is accumulating evidence that challenges this view. Humans recognize thousands of distinct smells and can detect odors even in minute quantities. And it appears that there are people who can describe odors easily without recourse to source descriptions. Jahai speakers of the Malay Peninsula are one such group. The Jahai have a rich abstract vocabulary to talk about olfactory qualities (Burenhult & Majid, 2011; Majid & Burenhult, in prep.), and they use these terms as veridically as color terms, for instance, while lacking the expected affective and memory associations. Languages like Jahai challenge our current understanding of olfaction.

This project aims to (1) establish whether identified olfactory terms are indeed abstract in some cultures. Although there is promising evidence in this direction there is no definitive study as yet. The project will take a unique integrative approach and study multiple "smell cultures", both small-scale, lesser-known language communities and experts smellers, such as wine- and tea-experts, within our own community. (2) Test the hypothesis that olfactory language restructures mental representations. The following specific hypotheses will be tested: (a) Conventionalized olfactory language weakens the link between specific odors and autobiographical memory. (b) Olfactory language weakens the direct link between olfaction and emotion. (c) Olfactory language reifies olfactory representations making them easier to bring to consciousness and manipulate.

Producten

Wetenschappelijk artikel

  • S. Dolscheid, S. Shayan, A. Majid, D. Cassanto(2013): The thickness of musical pitch: Psychophysical evidence for linguistic relativity Psychological Science pp. 613 - 662
  • O. Ozturk, S. Shayan, U. Liskowski, A. Majid(2013): Language is not necessary for color categories Developmental Science pp. 111 - 115
  • T. Regier, N. Khetarpal, A. Majid(2013): Inferring semantic maps Linguistic Typology pp. 89 - 105
  • B. Malt, A. Majid(2013): How thought is mapped into words WIREs: Cognitive Science pp. 583 - 597
  • A Majid(2013): Making semantics and pragmatics "sensory". Journal of Pragmatics pp. 48 - 51
  • S.C. Levinson, A. Majid(2013): The island of time: Yélî Dnye, the language of Rossel Island Frontiers in Psychology pp. 1 - 11
  • E Wnuk, A Majid(2014): Revisiting the limits of language: The odor lexicon of Maniq. Cognition pp. 125 - 138
  • D.I. Slobin, I. Ibarretxe-Antuñano, A. Kopecka, A Majid(2014): Manners of human gait: a crosslinguistic event-naming study Cognitive Linguistics pp. 701 - 741
  • B.C. Malt, E. Ameel, I. Mutsumi, S.P. Gennari, S. Noburo, A. Majid(2014): Human locomotion in languages: Constraints on moving and meaning. Journal of Memory and Language pp. 107 - 123
  • S Levinson, A Majid(2014): Differential Ineffability and the Senses Mind & Language pp. 407 - 427
  • E. Wnuk, N. Burenhult(2014): Contact and isolation in hunter-gatherer language dynamics: Evidence from Maniq phonology (Aslian, Malay Peninsula) Studies in Language pp. 956 - 981
  • S. Shayan, O. Ozturk, M. Bowerman, A. Majid(2014): Spatial metaphor in language can promote the development of cross-modal mappings in children. Developmental Science pp. 636 - 643
  • S Dolscheid, S Hunnius, D Casasanto, A Majid(2014): Prelinguistic infants are sensitive to space-pitch associations found across cultures. Psychological Science pp. 1256 - 1261
  • A Majid, N Burenhult(2014): Odors are expressible in language, as long as you speak the right language Cognition pp. 266 - 270
  • A Majid, F. Jordan, M. Dunn(2014): Semantic systems in closely related languages Language Sciences pp. 1 - 18
  • A. Majid, M. Van Staden(2015): Can nomenclature for the body be explained by embodiment theories? Topics in Cognitive Science pp. 570 - 594 ISSN: 1756-8765.
  • L. San Roque, K.H. Kendrick, E. Norcliffe, P. Brown, R. Defina, M. Dingemanse, T. Dirksmeyer, N.J. Enfield, S. Floyd, J. Hammond, G. Rossi, S. Tufvesson, S. van Putten, A Majid(2015): Vision verbs dominate in conversation across cultures, but the ranking of non-visual verbs varies Cognitive Linguistics pp. 31 - 60
  • A Majid(2015): Cultural factors shape olfactory language Trends in Cognitive Science pp. tba - tba
  • L. San Roque, K. Kendrick, E. Norcliffe, P. Brown, R. Defina, M. Dingemanse, T. Dirksmeyer, N.J. Enfield, S. Floyd, J. Hammond, G. Rossi, S. Tufvesson, S. van Putten, A Majid(2015): Vision verbs dominate in conversation across cultures, but the ranking of non-visual verbs varies Cognitive Linguistics pp. 31 - 60
  • J.M. De Valk, J. Wijnen, M.E. Kret(2015): Anger fosters action Frontiers in Psychology pp. 1 - 7
  • A. Majid, I. Croijmans(2016): Not All Flavor Expertise Is Equal: The Language of Wine and Coffee Experts PLoS ONE pp. 1 - 21
  • J. de Valk, E. Wnuk, A. Majid, J. Huisman(2016): Odor–color associations differ with verbal descriptors for odors: A comparison of three linguistically diverse groups. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review pp. 1 - 9
  • B. Todil, M. Dingemanse, A. Majid, A. Agameya, T. M Van Leeuwen(2016): Nonrandom associations of graphemes with colors in Arabic Multisensory Research (Advance online publication 2015) pp. 223 - 252 ISSN: 2213-4794.
  • A. Majid, I. Croijmans, L. Speed, A. Arshamian(2017): What makes a better smeller? Perception pp. 406 - 430
  • E Wnuk, A Majid, J M De Valk, J L A Huisman(2017): Hot and cold smells: Odor-temperature associations across cultures Frontiers in Psychology pp. 1 - 7 ISSN: 1664-1078.

Hoofdstuk in boek

  • A Majid, J. L. Jackson(2013): Oxford Bibliographies Online pp. 0 - 0 , Oxford
  • A. Majid(2014): Oxford Handbooks Online pp. 0 - 1 , Oxford
  • D. Divjak, G. Vigliocco, E. Dabrowska, D. Vinson, L.J. Speed(2015): Handbook of Cognitive Linguistics. pp. 190 - 210 , London/New York
  • N. Kruspe, N. Burenhult, E. Wnuk(2015): The Handbook of Austroasiatic Languages pp. 415 - 474 , Leiden
  • B. Malt, S. Gennari, M. Imai, E. Ameel, N. Saji, A Majid(2015): pp. unknown - unknown , Cambridge
  • S Dekker, P Manko, J de Valk, J Van Baren-Nawrocka, A Majid(2017): Wetenschappelijke doorbraken de klas in! pp. 128 - 166 , Nijmegen
  • A Majid, S Dekker, J de Valk, P Manko(2017): Scientific breakthroughs in the classroom! pp. 40 - 76 , Nijmegen
  • L. J. Speed, A Majid, A De Groot, P Hagoort, E Wnuk(2018): Research methods in psycholinguistics and the neurobiology of language pp. 190 - 207 , Hoboken

Publicatie bedoeld voor een breed publiek

Professionele publicatie

  • A. Majid, S. van Putten, L. San Roque(2016): Taal en de zintuigen pp. 10 - 13

Publieksinformatie

  • A Majid(2012): Olfactory language in hunter-gatherer communities
  • B van Maris(2013): Zo ruikt een zonnige dag
  • A Majid(2013): Cross-modal correspondences in the language of perception
  • A Majid(2013): What cross-cultural data tells us about odors and memory
  • A Majid(2013): Meaning, mind, culture
  • A Majid(2013): Emotion Review
  • A Majid(2013): Olfaction at the intersection of the humanities and the brain
  • A Majid(2013): Discourse Processes
  • A Majid(2013): Frontiers in Cultural Psychology
  • A Majid(2013): Sensory properties within languages and without language
  • (2013): Meaning: Shaped by culture, fit to the mind
  • A Majid(2013): Language and memory for 21st century Malaysia
  • A Majid(2013): Olfactory language and cognition
  • A Majid(2013): Language and memory for 21st century Malaysia
  • A Majid(2013): Space as a metaphor for time and sound across cultures
  • A Majid(2013): Meaning, mind, culture
  • A Majid(2013): Academia Europaea
  • A Majid(2013): Frontiers in Cognitive Science
  • A Majid, A Gaby, L Boroditsky(2013): Time in terms of space
  • A Majid(2013): What cross-cultural data tells us about odors and memory
  • A Majid(2013): Space as a metaphor for time and sound across cultures
  • A. Gerschenfeld(2014): Na língua deste povo nómada da Malásia há todo um mundo de cheiros
  • (2014): Dofter och färger ? bara en tolkningsfråga
  • (2014): Press Overview 2014
  • (2014): Why can't English speakers say what they smell
  • W. Krischke(2014): Linguistik der Düfte
  • A. Franz(2014): Thailand: Urwaldbewohner unterscheiden 15 abstrakte Duft-Namen
  • (2014): N/A
  • (2014): Does speaking English limit our sense of SMELL?
  • A Majid(2014): Language ?? Thought panel
  • (2014): English speakers, you stink at identifying smells
  • M. Karala(2014): Hajuaistia voi harjoittaa
  • (2014): It's pretty hard to put a smell into words
  • S. Decorte(2014): Hoe noem je de geur van bloemen?
  • A Majid(2014): Is space special
  • N. Himmelmann(2014): Sprachenvielfalt als natürliches Experiment
  • M. Kolkman(2014): Oud eten ruikt nogal pkoes
  • A. Krzeminska(2014): Nos ma glos
  • A Majid(2014): The relationship between words and concepts
  • I. Croijmans(2015): Quantifying the Language of Dutch Flavour Experts
  • I. Croijmans(2015): The domain specific influence of expertise on flavour naming
  • (2015): We kunnen nauwelijks omschrijven hoe iets ruikt
  • L.J. Speed, A. Majid(2015): Comprehension of words describing speed involves speed in auditory and visual perception.
  • I. Croijmans(2015): Odor naming is difficult, even for wine and coffee experts
  • E. Wnuk(2015): Smell terminology and cross-modal smell associations among three culturally and linguistically diverse groups
  • A Majid(2015): The development of sound-space associations
  • A Majid(2015): Categorising human locomotion in language and thought
  • L.J. Speed, A. Majid(2015): Grammatical gender affects odour perception and memory
  • A Majid(2015): What cross-cultural research can tell us about colours and odours
  • (2015): Press Overview 2015
  • A Majid(2015): New Perspectives in Semantic Typology
  • I Croijmans, A Majid(2015): Flavour expertise and its influence on olfactory language
  • A. Majid, L.J. Speed(2015): Olfactory language and cognition in odour-colour synaesthesia
  • I. Croijmans, L.J. Speed(2015): Olfactory language and cognition: Hunter-gatherers, Experts and Synesthetes
  • (2015): N/A
  • E. Wnuk(2016): Semantic specificity of verbs in Maniq (Austroasiatic, Thailand)
  • E. Wnuk(2016): Een taal met verfijnde werkwoorden
  • E. Wnuk(2016): Specificity at the basic level in event taxonomies: The case of Maniq verbs of ingestion
  • I. Croijmans, A. Majid(2016): Language does not explain the domain-specific memory advantage of wine experts
  • S. van Putten, L. Speed, A. Majid, C. O'Meara(2016): Lab demonstration at Drongo festival
  • A. Majid(2016): The content of mind
  • A. Majid, I. Croijmans(2016): The science of beer
  • L. Speed(2016): Spatial simulation of perceptual modalities.
  • L. Speed(2016): Rosemary and rain: Comparing the embodiment of sound and smell words.
  • S. Floyd(2016): How the Incas said 'yuck!' Exclamations of disgust and the Quechuan exclamative word class.
  • P. Manko, L. Speed, A. Majid, J. Huisman, I. Croijmans(2016): Hoe voelt blauw? Hoe klinkt citroengeur? Welke verbanden leg jij tussen je zintuigen?
  • A. Majid(2016): Als het in taal is uit te drukken...
  • A. Majid(2016): The limits of language.
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Sportzomer 2016 - Interview with Ilja Croijmans
  • A. Majid(2016): What do hunter-gatherers and wine-experts have in common?
  • E. Wnuk(2016): Specificity at the basic level in event taxonomies: The case of Maniq verbs of ingestion.
  • I. Croijmans(2016): VRT Radio 1 Belgie - Interview with Ilja Croijmans
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Getrainde neus beschrijft alleen 'eigen' geuren beter
  • A. Majid, C. O'meara, L. San Roque, L. Speed(2016): Perception Metaphor Workshop
  • I. Croijmans(2016): De Taalstand met Frits Spits - Interview with Ilja Croijmans
  • L. San Roque, B.B. Schieffelin(2016): Perception verbs in context: Perspectives from Bosavi (Kaluli) child-caregiver interaction.
  • A. Majid(2016): Why culture matters: A tour of olfactory language and cognition from hunter-gatherers to wine experts.
  • E. Wnuk(2016): The language of scents
  • P. Buyruk, A. Majid, J. Huisman(2016): Taste-Colour Associations in Turkish and Dutch.
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Wijn recenseren kun je leren
  • L. Speed(2016): Grammatical gender affects odor cognition.
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Blauwe wijn: hip maar moeilijk
  • I. Croijmans, A. Majid(2016): Human olfaction at the intersection of language, culture and biology
  • A. Majid(2016): What cross-linguistic research can tell us about space
  • L. Speed(2016): Odour cognition in odour-colour synaesthesia
  • A. Majid(2016): The Neglected Sense
  • L. Speed(2016): The effect of olfactory synaesthesia on odour language and cognition.
  • I. Croijmans, A. Majid(2016): Language does not explain the domain-specific memory advantage of wine experts
  • L. Speed(2016): Do classifier categories affect or reflect object concepts?
  • E. Wnuk, J. Huisman, J. de Valk, P. Manko, A. Majid(2016): Bringing Science to the classroom
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Communiceren met geur, communiceren over geur.
  • I. Croijmans(2016): Hoe smaakt de wijn?
  • A Arshamian, L J Speed, A Majid, I Croijmans(2017): Mental Imagery in wine experts and novices
  • A Majid, I Croijmans(2017): Flavour language of experts
  • E Wnuk(2017): Structure of odor lexicons as a window into olfactory perception
  • E Wnuk(2017): Escaping the limits of language: Dedicated words for smells.
  • L J Speed, A Majid, S Dolscheid, I Croijmans(2017): Acquiring pitch associations across modalities: the role of experience
  • C O'Meara(2017): When to use which frame of reference: Landmark-based systems in Seri
  • L J Speed, A Majid(2017): Superior olfactory language and cognition in odor-color synaesthesia
  • K Hof(2017): Talking About Talking About Taste And Smell With Linguist Ilja Croijmans
  • E Wnuk(2017): Odor-temperature associations across cultures.
  • L J Speed, A Majid(2017): Embodiment of odor and sound words
  • E Renkens(2017): Kleuren bij geuren zorgen voor scherpere neus
  • A Majid, C O'Meara(2017): Seri odor awareness and changing landscape
  • L Gaukema(2017): Hoe belangstelling voor geuren je beter doet ruiken
  • A Majid, A Arshamian, L J Speed, I Croijmans(2017): Olfactory memory of wine experts and novices
  • L J Speed, A Majid, I Croijmans, A Arshamian(2017): Mental imagery in wine experts and novices
  • L J Speed, A Majid(2017): Comparing embodiment of sound and smell words
  • L J Speed, I Croijmans, A Majid(2017): Cross-modal associations with odor across development
  • S Smythe Kung, A Majid, C O'Meara(2017): Smell and taste terms in Huehuetla Tepehua.
  • L Gaukema(2017): Belangstelling voor geuren laat je beter ruiken
  • E Wnuk(2017): Odor awareness in a mobile hunter-gatherer culture
  • A Van den Bosch, A Majid, I Croijmans, I Hendrickx, E Lefever(2017): Predicting wine properties from expert wine reviews
  • E Wnuk(2017): Capturing the meaning of smell terms: A case study of Thai

Proefschrift

Kenmerken

Projectnummer

277-70-011

Hoofdaanvrager

Prof. dr. A. Majid

Verbonden aan

Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, Faculteit der Letteren

Uitvoerders

Drs. I.M. Croijmans, Prof. dr. A. Majid, P. Manko, C.K. O'Meara, Dr. D.M. Richter-Kemmermann, Dr. H. de Sousa, Dr. L.J.S. Speed, Dr. L.J.S. Speed, J.M. de Valk, Dr. E.M. Wnuk

Looptijd

01/09/2012 tot 23/01/2017