Scientific article
Open access

Sustained effects of pleasant and unpleasant smells on resting state brain activity

Published inCortex
Publication date2020

Research suggests that transient emotional episodes produces sustained effects on psychological functions and brain activity during subsequent resting state. In this fMRI study we investigated whether transient emotions induced by smells could impact brain connectivity at rest in a valence-specific manner. The results suggest a sustained reconfiguration of parts of the default mode network which become more connected with areas implicated in olfactory processing, emotional learning, and action control. We found lingering effects of odorants on subsequent resting state that predominantly involved connections of the precuneus with a network comprising the insula, amygdala, medial orbital gyrus. Unpleasant smells in particular predicted greater coupling between insula, hippocampal structures, and prefrontal cortex, possible reflecting enhanced aversive learning and avoidance motivation. More broadly, our study illustrates a novel approach to characterize the impact of smells on brain function and differentiate the neural signatures of their valence, during task-free rest conditions.

Citation (ISO format)
CARLSON, Heather et al. Sustained effects of pleasant and unpleasant smells on resting state brain activity. In: Cortex, 2020. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2020.06.017
Main files (1)
Article (Accepted version)
ISSN of the journal0010-9452

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Creation09/07/2020 12:53:00 PM
First validation09/07/2020 12:53:00 PM
Update time03/15/2023 10:36:24 PM
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