Generalization between binary odor mixtures and their components in the rat

Physiol Behav. 1999 Jun;66(4):701-7. doi: 10.1016/s0031-9384(99)00007-4.


We have adopted a conditioning paradigm to investigate generalization between odor mixtures and components. Rats were conditioned to find a reward buried in odor-scented cups. The conditioned odor was either a mixture (O1 + O2) or a pure component (O1). Once they learned the task to criterion, they were tested in random sequence for response to that O1, O1 + O2 and to an unrelated odor (O3). Generalization was consistently the strongest from O1 to O1 + O2 or from O1 + O2 to O1. Furthermore. the degree of generalization depended on the odorants used as O1, O2, and O3. This latter finding in a particular indicates that this assay can be used to assess properties of mixtures, which could arise at either peripheral or more central locations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Classical*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Generalization, Stimulus*
  • Male
  • Odorants
  • Psychophysics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Smell*