Neuroscience Olfaction Research

Neuroscience of olfaction lab at the Weizmann institute in Israel are assembling a group of researchers from around the globe to carry out a cross cultural study of olfaction and are looking for collaborators for their study in Africa.


I am writing from Prof. Noam Sobel's lab. We are gearing up for a mega cross-cultural study.
In it, we will send an identical odor-set to MANY cultures. In addition to obtaining verbal descriptors, what we will test as a cross-cultural comparison is a perceptual similarity matrix. That is, we will test the hypothesis that the perceived similarity of odors is culture independent.

I am writing to you to ask if you want to be the XXXXXX representative in this study.
If yes, we will ask you to run two cohorts: a cohort of ~60 ethnic XXXXX and a cohort of ~60 people living in XXXXXX who are not ethnically XXXXX.
We will send you the stimuli in the form of scratch-and-sniff booklets (or similar), and there will be a dedicated webpage for running the experiment.Thus, the only costs you will have are to pay subjects (its a ~45 minute experiment), and have someone run this (e.g., a student). If funds for paying subjects are a problem, we can try to help.

What will you get in return:-)
1. You and one additional person (e.g., the student who ran the study) will be co-authors (this will be a long list....:-)
2. You are requested to suggest one odor that you would like to have in the stimulus set. It can be a monomolecule, or a complex odor (e.g., "leather") that we will make. Ideally, an odor that you think is specific in some way to your culture. We cannot promise to add this odor, but we will try.
3. You are requested to suggest a verbal descriptor. Ideally, a descriptor that you think is specific in some way to your culture. We cannot promise to add this descriptor, but we will try.
4. All the raw data will of course be made publicly available once we publish, but it will be available to you BEFORE we publish (in real time,as it is collected).

We expect about a year of preparations, so this will start in a year from now.
NOTE: This initial email is not yet for obtaining from you a suggested odor or descriptor, but rather a simple reply whether you are "in" with us, and want to participate in running the study. Once the full participant list is completed, we will recontact regarding the details. Thus, please let me know if you want to participate

Finally, if you can recommend any colleagues who might be willing to participate from "exotic locations", e.g., if you have any friends studying olfaction in Timbuktu, or the like, please send me their contact info.


Kobi Snitz
Department of Neurobiology
Weizmann Institute of Science
Rehovot 76100


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