Neurophysiology of Olfaction

Lectures: 6 h 

Main Topics:

  • Anatomo-functional basis of neuronal units: the neuron, structure and properties. The resting potential: electrical and concentration gradients, pumps and ion channels.The action potential. The conduction of the action potential. Synaptic transmission.
  • The physiology of the olfactory system: physiological organization of mechanisms for odor transduction. Proposed theories of olfactory coding.
  • Psychophysical studies of the olfactory system: basis of psychophysical measurements. Weber’s law, Weber-Fechner logarithmic law and Stevens power law. Odor detection, discrimination and identification. Taste: difference between taste and flavor. Interactions between taste and smell. Retronasal sensations. Adaptation and habituation.
  • Olfactory hedonism. Interactions between olfactory modules and the cerebral mechanisms of memory and emotion.

    Prof. Roberto Arrighi
    Department of Neuroscience, Psychology, Pharmacology, and Child Health 
    University of Florence, Italy
    email: roberto.arrighi (at) 
    phone: + 39 055 2755058