Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology

Degree Program

Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology, MS

Committee Chair

Samuelsen, Chad

Committee Member

Lundy, Robert

Committee Member

Kaskan, Peter

Author's Keywords

olfaction; gustation; neophobia; hedonics; congruence


The perception of flavors occurs when a tastant is simultaneously detected and associated with an odorant (i.e., odor-taste mixture). Sampling an odor and taste together results in a congruent odor-taste mixture. Mixing an odor and taste from different congruent odor-taste pairs results in incongruent odor-taste mixtures. Creation of a flavor percept requires sampling a novel chemosensory stimulus; however, mammals exhibit robust neophobic behavior when presented with new chemosensory stimuli. To determine preferences for novel odorants and experienced odor-taste mixtures, we employ a two-bottle brief-access preference task where two chemosensory stimuli are presented simultaneously. We found that rats show a preference for water over a novel odor until the odor is paired with a pleasant taste. Additionally, rats prefer an odor-taste mixture containing the odor previously paired with a pleasant taste, regardless of odor-taste congruence. Finally, we show that rats prefer a novel odor to an experienced-unpleasant odor, but prefer an experienced-pleasant odor.