A specialized odor memory buffer in primary olfactory cortex

Christina Zelano*, Jessica Montag, Rehan Khan, Noam Sobel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The neural substrates of olfactory working memory are unknown. We addressed the questions of whether olfactory working memory involves a verbal representation of the odor, or a sensory image of the odor, or both, and the location of the neural substrates of these processes. Methodology/Principal Findings: We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure activity in the brains of subjects who were remembering either nameable or unnameable odorants. We found a double dissociation whereby remembering nameable odorants was reflected in sustained activity in prefrontal language areas, and remembering unnameable odorants was reflected in sustained activity in primary olfactory cortex. Conclusions/Significance: These findings suggest a novel dedicated mechanism in primary olfactory cortex, where odor information is maintained in temporary storage to subserve ongoing tasks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere4965
JournalPloS one
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 23 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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