A method for functional magnetic resonance imaging of olfaction

J Neurosci Methods. 1997 Dec 30;78(1-2):115-23. doi: 10.1016/s0165-0270(97)00140-4.


A method for generating olfactory stimuli for humans within a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) experimental design is described. The system incorporates a nasal-mask in which the change from odorant to no-odorant conditions occurs in less than 500 ms and is not accompanied by visual, auditory, tactile, or thermal cues. The mask provides an ordorant-free environment following prolonged ordorant presence. Specific imaging parameters that are conducive to the study of the human olfactory system are described. In a pilot study performed using these methods, the specific patterns of activation observed converged with published experimental and clinical findings.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Benzaldehydes
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cues
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Masks
  • Nose / physiology*
  • Odorants
  • Perception / physiology*
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Propionates
  • Smell / physiology*
  • Touch


  • Benzaldehydes
  • Propionates
  • vanillin
  • propionic acid