As a stereo odor cue, internostril odor influx could help us in many spatial tasks, including localization and navigation. Studies have also revealed that this benefit could be modulated by the asymmetric concentrations of both influxes (left nose vs right nose). The interaction between olfaction and vision, such as in object recognition and visual direction judgment, has been documented; however, little has been revealed about the impact of odor cues on sound localization. Here we adopted the ventriloquist paradigm in auditory–odor interactions and investigated sound localization with the concurrent unilateral odor influx. Specifically, we teased apart both the “nature” of the odors (pure olfactory stimulus vs. mixed olfactory/trigeminal stimulus) and the location of influx (left nose vs. right nose) and examined sound localization with the method of constant stimuli. Forty-one participants, who passed the Chinese Smell Identification Test, perceived sounds with different azimuths (0°, 5°, 10°, and 20° unilaterally deflected from the sagittal plane by head-related transfer function) and performed sound localization (leftward or rightward) tasks under concurrent, different unilateral odor influxes (10% v/v phenylethyl alcohol, PEA, as pure olfactory stimulus, 1% m/v menthol as mixed olfactory/trigeminal stimulus, and propylene glycol as the control). Meanwhile, they reported confidence levels of the judgments. Results suggested that unilateral PEA influx did not affect human sound localization judgments. However, unilateral menthol influx systematically biased the perceived sound localization, shifting toward the odor source. Our study provides evidence that unilateral odor influx could bias perceived sound localization only when the odor activates the trigeminal nerves.

This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (