Friday Lunch Seminar (English)
October 22, 2021
12:15 〜 13:00
Apply for participation from here by noon, October 21.
You will be notified of participation details by e-mail on October 21.
Talk Title: Olfactory stimulation modulates visual perception without training
Brain Function Analysis and Imaging Laboratory
Center for Information and Neural Networks (CiNet)
National Institutes of Information and Communications Technology (NICT)
Host: N. Eiji Nawa
Considerable research shows that olfactory stimulation can affect emotions and other high-level cognitive functions. However, a little-known fact is that olfaction can modulate the low-level perception of other sensory modalities.
To test the possibility that olfaction modulates low-level perception even without training, we conducted a series of psychophysical and neuroimaging experiments. Behavioral results revealed that participants reported the speed of moving dots to be slower when they were paired with a lemon smell but faster when a vanilla smell was presented instead. Moreover, fMRI results showed that areas in the visual cortex [V1 and human middle temporal area (hMT)] displayed distinct activity depending on the type of olfactory stimulation that was presented.
These findings provide the first direct evidence that olfaction can modulate low-level visual perception without training, indicating that this olfactory-visual effect is not an acquired behavior but rather an innate one. This newly discovered crossmodal effect between olfaction and vision opens a unique opportunity to reconsider some fundamental roles of olfactory function.