Some controversy still exists as to how binary odorant mixtures are behaviorally perceived, despite many studies aimed at understanding this phenomenon. Binary mixture perception by rodents is a first step in elucidating how more complex odor blends may be perceived. Research thus far has examined how the degree of component similarity, olfactory receptor overlap, relative concentration of components, and even olfactory enrichment affect the behavioral perception of binary mixtures. These studies have aimed to categorize binary mixtures into 1 of 3 rigid categories, but often the results conflict as to which category a particular mixture belongs. In the present article, the authors used a habituation/discrimination paradigm to determine whether rats' perception of one component of a binary mixture of either perceptually similar or dissimilar components changed when the concentration of both components was varied together. The authors found that perception of a binary mixture changed with changing component concentration, such that one binary mixture could be categorized differently depending on component intensity.
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