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Leslie M. Kay

University of Chicago
Context and chemistry in primary olfactory processing
We show that olfactory bulb (OB) physiology is modulated by behavioral context, but in special circumstances the system may act as a feed-forward sensory throughway, with behavior predicted almost entirely by chemical structure. OB mitral cells receive direct sensory input and are modulated by behavior and expectation. Odor selectivity of these cells is also changed by stimulus meaning. A probable source of meaning-based modulation to the OB is the entorhinal cortex, which we show modulates OB activity during odor expectation. We also show that in some circumstances the chemical identity of an odor mixture can precisely predict behavior.
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