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Professor Richard Stevenson


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I completed my undergraduate and doctoral training in the UK in Experimental Psychology, before coming to work at CSIRO Food Science and then at the University of Sydney.  I have worked at Macquarie University since 1998.

Research interests

My principal interest is in studying human eating behaviour-every aspect from the normal to the pathological.  I am currently researching the relationship between habitual diet, brain function and behaviour.  I am also involved in other projects relating to the emotion of disgust, stigmatisation, chemosensory perception,hallucinations, synaesthesia, and interoception (perception of internal bodily states).  I also have a strong interest in all things evolutionary and 'voodoo' science.


Knopman, A., Wong, C., Stevenson, R.J., Homewood, J., Armin, M., Somerville, E., Eberl, S., Wen, L., Fulham, M. & Bleasel, A. (2014). The relationship between neuropsychological functioning and FDG-PET hypometabolism in intractable mesial temporal lobe epilepsy. Epilepsy and Behavior, In press. (Accepted January 22, 2015).

Porzig-Drummond, R., Stevenson, R.J. & Stevenson, C.S. Preliminary evaluation of a self-directed video based 1-2-3 Magic parenting program:  A randomized controlled trial.  Behavior Research and Therapy, In press. (Accepted January 8, 2015).

Stevenson, R.J., & Mahmut, M. Why does the sense of smell vanish in the mouth? Testing predictions from two accounts. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, In press. (Accepted November 24, 2014).

Francis, H. & Stevenson, R.J. The effect of Western diet on cognition in humans.  In (Eds.) T. Farooqui and A. Farooqui, Diet and exercise in cognitive function and neurological disease.  Wiley, NY. (Accepted September 20, 2014).

Prescott, J. & Stevenson, R.J. Chemosensory integration and the perception of flavor. In (Ed.) R.L. Doty, Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation, Third Edition.  Wiley-Liss, NY. (Accepted November 15, 2012).

View all publications

Stevenson, R.J., Hodgson, D., Oaten, M., Sominsky, L., Mahmut, M. & Case, T.I. Oral immune activation by disgust and disease-related pictures. Journal of Psychophysiology, In press. (Accepted November 19, 2014). IF 1.43

Mahmut, M. & Stevenson, R.J.  Failure to obtain reinstatement of an olfactory representation. Cognitive Science, In press. (Accepted October 15, 2014).

Brannigan, M., Stevenson, R.J. & Francis, H. (2015). Thirst interoception and its relationship to a Western-style diet. Physiology and Behavior, 139, 423-429.

Oaten, M., Stevenson, R.J. & Case, T.I. (2015). The effect of disgust on pain sensitivity. Physiology and Behavior, 138, 107-112.

Stevenson, R.J., Miller, L.A. & McGrillen, K. (2015). Perception of odor-induced tastes following insular cortex lesion. Neurocase,21, 33-43.

Oaten, M., Stevenson, R.J., Wagland, P.I., Case, T.I. & Repacholi, B.M. (2014). Parent-Child transmission of disgust and hand-hygiene: The role of vocalizations, gestures and other parental responses. The Psychological Record, 64, 803-811.

Zucco, A., Konstantinos, P. & Stevenson, R.J. (2014). From blindsight to blindsmell. Translational Neuroscience, 6, 8-12.

Francis, H. & Stevenson, R.J. (2014). Fatty acids and the hippocampus.  In (Eds.) R. Watson & F. De Meester, Fat and Fatty acids in Brain and Neurological Health (pp. 429-441).  Elsevier, NY.

Jonsson, F. & Stevenson, R.J. (2014). Odor knowledge, odor naming and the "tip of the nose" experience. In (Eds.) A. Brown and B. Schwartz, Tip of the Tongue States and Related Phenomena (pp. 305-326). Cambridge University Press, NY.

Stevenson, R.J.(2014). The forgotten sense: Using olfaction in a museum context: A neuroscience perspective. In (Eds.) N. Levant & A. Pascual-Leone, Multisensory Museum: Cross-Disciplinary Perspective on Touch, Sound, Smell, Memory and Space (pp. 151-167). Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, USA.

Knopman, A., Wong, C., Stevenson, R.J., Homewood, J., Armin, M., Somerville, E., Eberl, S., Wen, L., Fulham, M. & Bleasel, A. (2014). The cognitive profile of occipital lobe epilepsy and the selective association of left temporal lobe hypometabolism with verbal memory impairment. Epilepsia, 55, 80-84.

Stevenson, R.J. & Prescott, J. (2014). Human diet and cognition. WIREs Cognitive Science, 5, 463-475.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2014). Evidence that phenomenal olfactory content exceeds what can later be accessed. Consciousness and Cognition, 30, 210-219.

Hayes, J.E., Stevenson, R.J. & Stuetz, R.M.  (2014). The impact of malodour on communities: A review of assessment techniques. Science of the Total Environment, 500, 395-407.

Stevenson, R.J. (2014). Object concepts in the chemical senses. Cognitive Science, 38, 1360-1383.

Stevenson, R.J., Oaten, M., Case, T.I. & Repacholi, B.M. (2014). Is disgust prepared? A preliminary examination in young children. Journal of General Psychology, 141, 326-347.

Braude, L. & Stevenson, R.J. (2014). Watching TV while eating increases energy intake: Examining the mechanisms in female participants. Appetite, 76, 9-16.

Porzig-Drummond, R., Stevenson, R.J. & Stevenson, C.S. (2014). The 1-2-3 Magic parenting program and its effect on child problem behaviors and dysfunctional parenting.  A randomized controlled trial.  Behavior Research and Therapy, 58, 52-64.

Stevenson, R.J. (2014). Flavor binding: Its nature and cause. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 487-510.

Zucco, G.M., Hummel, T., Tomaiuolo, F. & Stevenson, R.J. (2014). The influence of short-term memory on standard discrimination and cued identification olfactory tasks. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 222, 138-141.

Stevenson, R.J. & Attuquayefio, T. (2013). Olfactory consciousness and cognition: Its unusual features may not result from unusual functions but from limited neocortical processing resources. Frontiers in Psychology, 4, Article 819.

Bettison, T., Mahmut, M. & Stevenson, R.J.(2013). The Relationship between psychopathy and olfactory tasks sensitive to orbitofrontal cortex function in a non-criminal student sample.Chemosensory Perception, 6, 198-210.

Stevenson, R.J. (2013).Attention in flavour perception: What it means and why it is important. AgroFood Industry Hi-tech, 24, 24-26.

Stevenson, R.J., Miller, L.A. & McGrillen, K. (2013). The lateralization of gustatory function and the flow of information from tongue to cortex. Neuropsychologia, 51, 1408-1416.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2013). Detecting olfactory rivalry. Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 504-516.

Stevenson, R.J. & Miller, L.A. (2013). Taste and odor-induced taste perception following unilateral lesions to the anteromedial temporal lobe and the orbitofrontal cortex. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 30, 41-57.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2013). Familiarity influences odor memory stability. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 20, 754-759.

Zucco, G.M., Massimo, P., Sartori, G. & Stevenson, R.J. (2013). Odour perception following bilateral damage to the olfactory bulbs: A possible case of blind smell. Cortex, 49, 599-604.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2013). Using response consistency to probe olfactory knowledge. Chemical Senses, 38, 237-249.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2013). The accessibility of semantic knowledge for odours that can and cannot be named. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66, 1414-1431.

Hayes, J.E., Jinks, A.L. & Stevenson, R.J.(2013). A comparison of sniff bottle staircase and olfactometer-based threshold tests. Behavior Research Methods, 45, 178-182.

Francis, H. & Stevenson, R.J. (2013). Validity and test-retest reliability of a short dietary questionnaire to assess intake of saturated fat and free sugars: a preliminary study. Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, 26, 234-242.

Stevenson, R.J. (2013). Olfactory perception, cognition and dysfunction in humans. WIREs Cognitive Science, 4, 273-284.

Francis, H. & Stevenson, R.J. (2013). The longer-term impacts of Western diet on human cognition and the brain. Appetite, 63, 119-128.

Mahmut, M. & Stevenson, R.J. (2012). Olfactory abilities and psychopathy: Higher psychopathy scores are associated with poorer odor discrimination and odor identification. Chemosensory Perception, 5, 300-307.

Arguedas, D., Stevenson, R.J. & Langdon, R. (2012). Source monitoring and olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 121, 936-943.

Ryan, S., Oaten, M., Stevenson, R.J. & Case, T.I. (2012). Facial disfigurement is treated like an infectious disease. Evolution and Human Behavior, 33, 639-646.

Stevenson, R.J. (2012). Multisensory interactions in flavor perception.  In (Eds.) G. Calvert, C. Spence and B. Stein,The New Handbook of Multisensory Processes (pp. 283-300).  MIT Press, Massachusetts.

Stevenson, R.J.(2012). Olfactory perception. In (Eds.) G.M. Zucco, R.S. Herz & B. Schaal, Olfactory Cognition. From Perception and Memory to Environmental Odours and Neuroscience (pp. 73-91). John Benjamins, Amsterdam, Holland.

Stevenson, R.J.& Langdon, R.L. (2012). Olfactory and gustatory hallucinations.  In (Eds.) J.D. Blom and I.E.C. Sommer, Hallucinations: Research and Practice (pp. 157-170). Springer, NY.

Case, T.I., Oaten, M. & Stevenson, R.J. (2012). Disgust and moral judgment.  In (Eds.) C. Mackenzie and R.L. Langdon, Emotions, Imagination and Moral Reasoning(pp. 195-219). Psychology Press, Hove, UK.

Arguedas, D., Langdon, R. & Stevenson, R.J. (2012). Neuropsychological characteristics associated with olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18, 799-808.

Stevenson, R.J., Hodgson, D., Oaten, M.J., Moussavi, M., Langberg, R., Case, T.I. & Barouei, J. (2012). Disgust elevates core body temperature and up-regulates certain oral immune markers. Brain, Behavior and Immunity, 26, 1160-1168.

Stevenson, R.J., Rich, A. & Russell, A. (2012). The nature and origin of cross-modal associations to odors. Perception, 41, 606-619.

Stevenson, R.J. & Langdon, R. (2012). A preliminary investigation of olfactory function in olfactory and auditory-verbal hallucinators with schizophrenia, and normal controls. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 17, 315-333.

Kouznetsova, D., Stevenson, R.J., Oaten, M.J. & Case, T.I. (2012). Disease avoidant behaviour and its consequences. Psychology and Health, 27, 491-506.

Stevenson, R.J. (2012). The role of attention in flavour perception. BMC Flavour, 1, Article 2.

Johns, A., Homewood, J., Stevenson, R.J. & Taylor, A. (2012). Implicit and explicit olfactory memory in people with and without Down Syndrome. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 33, 583-593.

Francis, H. & Stevenson, R.J. (2011). Higher reported saturated fat and refined sugar intake is associated with reduced hippocampal-dependent memory and sensitivity to interoceptive signals. Behavioral Neuroscience, 125, 943-955.

Mittal, D., Stevenson, R.J., Oaten, M. & Miller, L.A. (2011). Snacking while watching TV impairs food recall and promotes food intake on a later TV free test meal. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 871-877.

Stevenson, R.J., Case, T.I. & Oaten, M. (2011). Proactive strategies to avoid infectious disease. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 366, 3361-3363.

Oaten, M., Stevenson, R.J. & Case, T.I. (2011). Disease avoidance as a functional basis for stigmatization. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, London, Series B, 366, 3433-3452.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2011). Discriminating the stimulus elements during human odor-taste learning: A successful analytic stance does not eliminate learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 37, 477-482.

Lemon, J., Stevenson, R.J., Gates, P. & Copeland, J. (2011). Palatability, familiarity, and underage, immoderate drinking. Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, 20, 437-449.

Stevenson, R.J. (2011). Olfactory illusions: Where are they?Consciousness and Cognition, 20, 1887-1898.

Mahmut, M., Menictas, C., Stevenson, R.J.& Homewood, J. (2011). Validating the factor structure of the Self-Report Psychopathy scale in a community sample. Psychological Assessment, 23, 670-678.

Tham, W., Stevenson, R.J. & Miller, L.A. (2011). The impact of mediodorsal thalamic lesions on olfactory attention and flavor perception. Brain and Cognition, 77, 71-79.

Zucco, G.M., Carassai, A., Baroni, M.R. & Stevenson, R.J.(2011). Labelling, identification and recognition of wine-relevant odorants in expert Sommeliers, intermediates and untrained wine drinkers. Perception, 40, 598-607.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2011). Olfactory test performance and its relationship with the perceived location of odors. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 73, 1966-1973.

Stevenson, R.J., Hodgson, D., Oaten, M., Barouei, J. & Case, T.I. (2011). The effect of disgust on oral immune function. Psychophysiology, 48, 900-907.

Langdon, R.L., McGuire, J., Stevenson, R.J.& Catts, S.V. (2011). Clinical correlates of olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia. British Journal of Clinical Psychology, 50, 145-163.

Tham, W., Stevenson, R.J. & Miller, L.A. (2011). The role of the mediodorsal thalamic nucleus in human olfaction. Neurocase, 17, 148-159.

Stevenson, R.J., Case, T.I. & Oaten, M. (2011). Effect of self-reported sexual arousal on responses to sex related and non-sex related disgust cues. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 79-84.

Stevenson, R.J., Langdon, R.L. & McGuire, J. (2011). Olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: A phenomenological survey. Psychiatry Research, 185, 321-327.

Stevenson, R.J., Oaten, M. & Mahmut, M. (2011). The role of taste and oral somatosensation in olfactory localisation. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 64, 224-240.

Stevenson, R.J., Mahmut, M. & Oaten, M. (2011). The role of attention in the localisation of odors to the mouth. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 73, 247-258.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2011). Experience dependent changes in odour-viscosity perception. Acta Psychologica, 136, 60-66.

Stevenson, R.J.(2011). The perception of odor quality as stimulus concentration changes: Constancy and process dissociation in olfaction. In (Eds.) L.E. Weiss and J.M. Atwood, The Biology of Odors: Sources, Olfaction and Response (pp. 69-96). Nova Science Publishers, NY.

Oaten, M., Stevenson, R.J., Case, T.I. & Sutton, K. (2010) The development of disgust.  In (Ed) J. Hakansson, Developmental Psychology (pp. 169-179). Nova Science Publishers, NY.

Stevenson, R.J. & Mahmut, M. (2010). Differential context effects between sweet tastes and smells. Attention, Perception and Psychophysics, 72, 2304-2313.

Stevenson, R.J. & Oaten, M. (2010). Sweet odours and sweet tastes are conflated in memory. Acta Psychologica, 134, 105-109.

Stevenson, R.J., Oaten, M., Case, T.I., Repacholi, B.M. & Wagland, P. (2010). Children's response to adult disgust elicitors: Development and acquisition. Developmental Psychology, 46, 165-177.

Stevenson, R.J., Case, T.I. & Oaten, M. (2010). Salt-induced thirst results in increased finickiness in humans. The Psychological Record, 60, 385-398.

Stevenson,R.J. (2010). An initial evaluation of the functions of human olfaction. Chemical Senses, 35, 3-20.



Funding Body





ARC Discovery Project

Testing a disease avoidance account of stigmatization

Oaten, Stevenson, Chambers & Kurzban



ARC Discovery Project

The impact of Western-style diets on the brain

Stevenson, Boakes, Oaten & Yeomans



Macquarie University Safety Net

Examining the relationship between disgust and the immune system

Stevenson, Oaten , Hodgson & Case


2010- 2013

ARC Discovery Project

Thinking in smells




ARC Discovery Project

Disgust and disease avoidance

Stevenson, Oaten , Hodgson & Case



Macquarie University Research Development Grant

Olfactory synesthesia

Rich & Stevenson


Higher Degree Research completions





2015Dr Renate Porzig-DrummondTesting Effective Strategies for Reducing Child Disruptive Behaviours as an Alternative to Physical Punishment in Australia: An Evaluation of the 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Program

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Alex Knopman

Neuropsychological functioning, FDG-PET hypometabolism and post-surgical seizure outcome in medically intractable focal epilepsy

Doctor of Philosophy


Dr Heather Mary Francis

The impact of a Western-style diet on humans and animals

Doctor of Philosophy with the degree Master of Clinical Neuropsychology


Dr Deborah Arguedas

Olfactory hallucinations in schizophrenia: A neuropsychological investigation.

Doctor of Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology)


Dr Wendy Wei Ping Tham

Investigation of the role of the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus in human odor perception

Doctor of Philosophy