Perceptual judgements and chronic imaging of altered odour maps indicate comprehensive stimulus template matching in olfaction

More about Open Access at the Crick


Lesion experiments suggest that odour input to the olfactory bulb contains significant redundant signal such that rodents can discern odours using minimal stimulus-related information. Here we investigate the dependence of odour-quality perception on the integrity of glomerular activity by comparing odour-evoked activity maps before and after epithelial lesions. Lesions prevent mice from recognizing previously experienced odours and differentially delay discrimination learning of unrecognized and novel odour pairs. Poor recognition results not from mice experiencing an altered concentration of an odour but from perception of apparent novel qualities. Consistent with this, relative intensity of glomerular activity following lesions is altered compared with maps recorded in shams and by varying odour concentration. Together, these data show that odour recognition relies on comprehensively matching input patterns to a previously generated stimulus template. When encountering novel odours, access to all glomerular activity ensures rapid generation of new templates to perform accurate perceptual judgements.

Journal details

Volume 4
Pages 2100
Publication date