Behavioral and neuropsychological foundations of olfactory fear conditioning

Behav Brain Res. 2000 Jun 1;110(1-2):119-28. doi: 10.1016/s0166-4328(99)00190-4.


Pavlovian fear conditioning procedures have been a fruitful means of exploring the neural substrates of associative learning. There is now substantial evidence suggesting that many aspects of conditioned fear depend critically upon the integrity of the amygdala and the perirhinal cortex. Recent studies in our laboratory examining the contributions of these areas to olfactory and contextual fear conditioning are reviewed; collectively the results of these studies suggest that the amygdala participates critically in the acquisition and expression of fear conditioned to both an olfactory conditioned stimulus (CS) and to the training context, while the perirhinal cortex contributes to olfactory, but not contextual, fear conditioning. Moreover, it appears that perirhinal cortex may play a prominent role in recognition of the CS following conditioning. These results are discussed in light of the extent to which they replicate and extend previous research examining the contributions of these areas to fear conditioned to auditory and visual CSs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Conditioning, Classical / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Fear / physiology*
  • Fear / psychology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Smell / physiology*