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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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Smell and Flavor

Smell and Flavor

(p.109) Chapter Twelve Smell and Flavor

Gordon M. Shepherd

Columbia University Press

The olfactory cortex begins the task of creating the brain's representation of “smell objects” representing the food we are consuming. What is now needed is someone to “read” the smell object in a way that gives it meaning in a human context. This requires the neocortex, which is the focus of the chapter. Studies on the neocortical processing of smells have found that some cells are tuned specifically to odors; most cells do not respond to changes in odor intensity; some cells respond to both odors and taste stimuli; some cells respond preferentially to pleasant smells, and others to unpleasant smells; and that the qualities of pleasant and unpleasant are reflective of their reward value, which we all know from our own flavor experience.

Keywords:   neocortex, human brain, smell perception, olfactory cortex, neocortical processing

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