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 Co-Chair (if applicable)

Lundy, Robert

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.