Perceptual Learning in Olfaction: Flexibility, Stability, and Cortical Control

Speaker: Hermann Riecke

Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2023

Location: PIMS, University of British Columbia, Online, Zoom

Conference: Mathematical Biology Seminar

Subject: Mathematics, Mathematical Biology

Class: Scientific


The ability to learn and remember is an essential property of the brain that is not limited to high-level processing. In fact, the perception of olfactory stimuli in rodents is strongly shaped by learning processes in the olfactory bulb, the very first brain area to process olfactory information. We developed computational models for the two structural plasticity mechanisms at work. The models capture key aspects of a host of experimental observations and show how the separate plasticity time scales allow perceptual learning to be fast and flexible, but nevertheless produce long-lasting memories. The modeling gives strong evidence for the formation of odor-specific neuronal subnetworks and indicates how their formation is likely under top-down control.