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Olfactory task-based functional MRI, perception, and behavior

Much of our work has traditionally combined cognitive neuroscience paradigms with fMRI techniques to characterize how the human brain transforms olfactory inputs into perceptual representations, and how learning, memory, and experience modulate this information to enhance odor object recognition and discrimination at the behavioral and neural levels. We have used multivariate pattern-based fMRI approaches to show that odor qualities and categories (e.g., minty, citrus) take the form of distributed ensemble patterns in human piriform (olfactory) cortex, and that initially indistinguishable smells can be made distinguishable following Pavlovian aversive conditioning, with corresponding pattern decorrelation of odor representations in piriform cortex. Recently, we have begun to use olfactory stimuli to selectively target and modulate emotional memory traces in the sleeping human brain, and are exploring the neural substrates of odor mixture processing and olfactory navigation.