New York: The ability to vividly imagine the smell of popcorn, freshly baked cookies and even non-food odours is greater in obese adults, says a study led by an Indian-origin researcher.
Differences in the ability to image odours, especially food odours, might promote food cravings, the results said.
"These results highlight the need for a more individualistic approach in identifying factors that may increase risk for weight gain," said study lead author Barkha Patel, post-doctoral fellow at Yale School of Medicine in the US.
People vary greatly in their ability to imagine the smell of freshly baked bread or the sweet aroma of a bouquet of roses.
In the study, participants completed a series of questionnaires that asked them to imagine both visual and odour cues and then to subsequently rate the vividness of these cues.
The researchers found that individuals with a higher body mass index (BMI) reported greater ability to vividly imagine food and non-food odours.
The results will be presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behaviour (SSIB) at Denver, in Colorado.