Configurational and nonconfigurational interactions between odorants in binary mixtures

Behav Neurosci. 2003 Apr;117(2):236-45. doi: 10.1037/0735-7044.117.2.236.


Studies on odor mixture perception suggest that although odor components can often be identified in mixtures, mixtures can also give rise to novel perceptual qualities that are not present in the components. Using an olfactory habituation task, the authors evaluated how the perceptual similarity between components in a mixture affects the perceptual quality of the mixture itself. Rats perceived binary mixtures composed of similar components as different from their 2 components, whereas binary mixtures composed of dissimilar components were perceived as very similar to their components. Results show that for both types of mixtures, pretraining to Component A reduces subsequent learning about Component B in rats trained in the presence of A.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Conditioning, Psychological / drug effects
  • Conditioning, Psychological / physiology*
  • Discrimination Learning / physiology*
  • Discrimination, Psychological / drug effects
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Generalization, Psychological
  • Male
  • Odorants*
  • Perception / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reaction Time / drug effects
  • Smell / drug effects
  • Smell / physiology*