Chapter 10. Remembering what the nose knows

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In 1973 Trygg Engen came up with the idea of studying olfaction by examining the effects of brain damage on odor perception. This work led to two fundamental insights that have stood the test of time. First, central brain lesions can disrupt higher functions like odor identification, naming, or recognition memory without affecting the ability to detect and discriminate differences between odors. Second, the ability to make sense of what we smell depends on brain regions beyond the olfactory bulb and its immediate projection areas in primary olfactory cortex. A lot has been learned about neural mechanisms that give rise to the sense of smell since these early neuropsychological studies were conducted. This chapter reviews this early work in light of more recent discoveries of olfactory neuroscience.


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