Editors' ChoiceSensory Perception

Smelling in Stereo

STKE  07 Feb 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 321, pp. tw53
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3212006tw53

Stereo sound localization uses both intensity and phase differences between the ears to determine source direction. Rajan et al. report that olfaction can use similar cues. Trained rats can locate an odor source to the left or right using concentration differences or time-of-arrival differences. Rats can perform this task within a single sniff. Olfactory bulb neuronal responses recorded in response to directional odor stimuli were highly selective for the direction of odor stimulation.

R. Rajan, J. P. Clement, U. S. Bhalla, Rats smell in stereo. Science 311, 666-670 (2006). [Abstract] [Full Text]