Functional brain networks during picture encoding and recognition in different odor contexts

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Abstract

Contextual odors can serve as retrieval cues when applied during encoding and recall/recognition of information. To investigate the neuronal basis of these observations, we collected functional MRI data while participants (n = 51) performed an encoding and recognition memory task during which odors (congruent: CO or incongruent: IO) were presented as contextual cues. Recognition performance was not influenced by odor, but there was increased activation in the piriform cortex during successful encoding in the CO group, possibly indicating enhanced retrieval of information previously integrated with an olfactory percept. Moreover, group-independent component analysis revealed a stronger task-modulation of subcortical networks for IO versus CO during the recognition task, pointing to differences in olfactory processing. These observations provide a deeper understanding of the involvement of functional neuronal networks in memory tasks and a basis for further evaluation of the impact of odor contexts.

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