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NeurogastronomyHow the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters$
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Gordon Shepherd

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159111

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159111.001.0001

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A Smell Is Like a Face

A Smell Is Like a Face

Chapter:
(p.76) Chapter Eight A Smell Is Like a Face
Source:
Neurogastronomy
Author(s):

Gordon M. Shepherd

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231159111.003.0009

This chapter discusses the application of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study activity patterns in smell. The patterns demonstrated by fMRI studies on the rat olfactory bulb show that different odors give different patterns; the patterns have medial and lateral domains; the patterns are similar in the two olfactory bulbs; and the patterns increase in extent with increasing odor concentration. The patterns have also been found in the brains of other vertebrate species as well as invertebrates. This shows that not only are the glomeruli a constant feature of the architecture of the smell pathway across the animal kingdom, but that activity patterns are a constant feature of their function. Together, the results provide direct experimental proof of the hypothesis that smells are encoded at least in part as spatial activity patterns, and they give the first insight into the mechanism: the neural basis of odor encoding involves differential activation of the olfactory glomeruli.

Keywords:   smell, functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI, olfactory bulb, olfactory glomeruli, spatial activity patterns, odor encoding

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