In search of the structure of human olfactory space

Koulakov, A. A., Kolterman, B. E., Enikolopov, A. G., Rinberg, D. (September 2011) In search of the structure of human olfactory space. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 5. p. 65. ISSN 1662-5137 (Electronic)1662-5137 (Linking)

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URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21954378
DOI: 10.3389/fnsys.2011.00065

Abstract

We analyze the responses of human observers to an ensemble of monomolecular odorants. Each odorant is characterized by a set of 146 perceptual descriptors obtained from a database of odor character profiles. Each odorant is therefore represented by a point in a highly multidimensional sensory space. In this work we study the arrangement of odorants in this perceptual space. We argue that odorants densely sample a two-dimensional curved surface embedded in the multidimensional sensory space. This surface can account for more than half of the variance of the perceptual data. We also show that only 12% of experimental variance cannot be explained by curved surfaces of substantially small dimensionality (<10). We suggest that these curved manifolds represent the relevant spaces sampled by the human olfactory system, thereby providing surrogates for olfactory sensory space. For the case of 2D approximation, we relate the two parameters on the curved surface to the physico-chemical parameters of odorant molecules. We show that one of the dimensions is related to eigenvalues of molecules' connectivity matrix, while the other is correlated with measures of molecules' polarity. We discuss the behavioral significance of these findings.

Item Type: Paper
Subjects: organism description > animal
organism description > animal behavior
organism description > animal > mammal > primates > hominids > human
organism description > animal > mammal
organism description > animal behavior > olfactory
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Enikopolov lab
CSHL labs > Koulakov lab
CSHL Post Doctoral Fellows
Depositing User: Matt Covey
Date: 15 September 2011
Date Deposited: 07 Feb 2013 14:38
Last Modified: 02 May 2013 19:45
PMCID: PMC3173711
Related URLs:
URI: http://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/27146

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