Odor Discrimination in Pigeons

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Science  02 Sep 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3740, pp. 1138-1139
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3740.1138


An operant procedure was employed to investigate odor discrimination in the pigeon. Amyl acetate concentrations of 6-percent saturation in air, and lower, when paired with electric shock markedly reduced key-pecking during the odor stimulus period. Sectioning the olfactory nerves eliminated this selective suppression behavior. After the operation, the suppression was again conditioned when the concentration of amyl acetate was increased to 15-percent saturation in air. This is theoretically possible through mediation by the trigeminal system.