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Temporal pattern of odor administration alters hemispheric processing in humans

Lorig, Tyler S.; Rigdon, Megan; Poor, Alexander

doi: 10.1097/01.wnr.0000199463.09165.5b
Chemical, Senses

Evidence from a variety of sensory modalities has suggested that the left hemisphere may be ‘tuned’ to process more rapidly changing stimuli than the right and some have suggested that this difference forms the foundation of the functional dichotomy often drawn between the two hemispheres. Odors may be thought to engage these same temporally dependent processes as portions of an odor mixture may come to be transduced into a phasic series of neural events. Using brain electrical activity, we show that the temporal sequence of the odor alters the pattern of brain electrical activity. Estimates of the source localization for this activity indicate that rapidly changing odors, like sounds, visual and tactile stimuli, show increased activity in the left hemisphere.

Department of Psychology, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia, USA

Correspondence and requests for reprints to Dr Tyler S. Lorig, PhD, Department of Psychology, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA 24450, USA

Tel: +1 540 458 8839; fax: +1 540 458 8047; e-mail: tlorig@wlu.edu

Sponsorship: Support for the equipment used in this research was generously provided through a grant to the Washington and Lee University by the W.M. Keck Foundation.

Received 15 November 2005; accepted 12 December 2005

© 2006 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.