Learning to Smell
Olfactory Perception from Neurobiology to Behavior
Publication Year: 2006
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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This book represents a rather unusual collaboration between a neurobiologist and a psychologist that grew out of the similarities emerging between physiological and psychophysical research in olfaction. The major problemin olfactory behavioral neuroscience is to determine how the brain discriminates one smell, or perceptual odor, from another. Olfactory and chemical...
1. The Function of the Olfactory System in Animals and Humans
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Smell this book. Seriously, close your eyes, bring the pages of the book to your nose and inhale.* Volatile molecules from the pages, the binding glue, the cover, and, depending on the age of the book at this reading, the accumulated dust and debris of storage enter your nose (via the external nares) and pass over your olfactory receptor sheet on their way to your...
2. A Historical and Comparative Perspective on Theoretical Approaches to Olfaction
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The search for systematic relationships between the physical characteristics of a chemical stimulus and the percept that results from smelling it has been pursued with two quite different goals in mind. The first is that of being able to identify ingredients for use in the flavor and fragrance industry. This approach focuses on understanding how natural odorants come to smell as they do, identifying their components, and then synthesizing chemical analogues to improve...
3. Receptive Mechanisms
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Odor perception is the consequence of computations occurring within the primary olfactory structures and interactions within and between a myriad of other nonolfactory systems. As a starting point for understanding how the olfactory system functions, we will examine two things. First, we must have a firm understanding of the olfactory stimulus...
4. The Relationship between Stimulus Intensity and Perceptual Quality
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Odor perception is the consequence of computations occurring within the primary olfactory structures and interactions within and between a myriad of other nonolfactory systems. As a starting point for understanding how the olfactory system functions, we will examine two things. First, we must have a firm understanding of the olfactory stimulus and how stimulus...
5. Odor Quality Discrimination in Nonhuman Animals
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As discussed briefly in chapter 1, olfaction, and chemosensation in general,plays a major role in day-to-day survival of all animals. Chemical cues areused for finding food, identifying mates and recognizing kin, avoiding predators, and, for many species, aid in territorial marking, homing, and navigation. Examples include the use of odorants by birds and bees...
6. Odor Quality Discrimination in Humans
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One way to assess the function of olfaction in humans is to examine the consequences of its loss. Humans rely primarily on vision and audition, and so the sense of smell assumes far less importance relative to many other animals.Thus, although blindness or deafness are serious disabilities, anosmia exertsmore subtle effects. These include (1) vocational problems where the sense...
7. Odor Memory
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To this point, we have been concerned with the role of memory in odor object recognition and hedonics. A whole range of other information-processing tasks exists that rely on memory, and the purpose of this chapter is to examine and interconnect them with the object recognition process that we have alluded to...
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Thomas Kuhn (1962), in his Structure of Scientific Revolutions notes that facts are not like pebbles on the beach waiting to be picked up. Rather, he argues, how observations are interpreted (and thus become facts) is based on the theoretical viewpoint and resulting expectations of the viewer. Kuhn’s argument has dual relevance here. First, we posit that smells (like facts) are not like molecules...
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Page Count: 328
Illustrations: 6 halftones, 26 line drawings
Publication Year: 2006