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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2010 Sep;11(9):628-41. doi: 10.1038/nrn2883. Epub 2010 Aug 11.

Central mechanisms of odour object perception.

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1
Department of Neurology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 303 East Chicago Avenue, Ward 10-150, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA. j-gottfried@northwestern.edu

Abstract

The stimulus complexity of naturally occurring odours presents unique challenges for central nervous systems that are aiming to internalize the external olfactory landscape. One mechanism by which the brain encodes perceptual representations of behaviourally relevant smells is through the synthesis of different olfactory inputs into a unified perceptual experience--an odour object. Recent evidence indicates that the identification, categorization and discrimination of olfactory stimuli rely on the formation and modulation of odour objects in the piriform cortex. Convergent findings from human and rodent models suggest that distributed piriform ensemble patterns of olfactory qualities and categories are crucial for maintaining the perceptual constancy of ecologically inconstant stimuli.

PMID:
20700142
PMCID:
PMC3722866
DOI:
10.1038/nrn2883
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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