Localization of Odors Can Be Learned

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Chemicals selectively stimulating the olfactory nerve typically cannot be localized in a lateralization task. Purpose of this study was to investigate whether the ability of subjects to localize an olfactory stimulus delivered passively to 1 of the 2 nostrils would improve under training. Fifty-two young, normosmic women divided in 2 groups participated. One group performed olfactory lateralization training, whereas the other group performed cognitive tasks. Results showed that only subjects performing lateralization training significantly improved in their ability to lateralize olfactory stimuli compared with subjects who did not undergo such training.

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