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The Feeling of Familiarity of Music and Odors: The Same Neural Signature?

 

 
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The feeling of familiarity can be triggered by stimuli from all sensory modalities, suggesting a multimodal nature of its neural bases. In the present experiment, we investigated this hypothesis by studying the neural bases of familiarity processing of odors and music. In particular, we focused on familiarity referring to the participants’ life experience. Items were […]

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Posted October 22, 2007 by thomasr

 
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familiarityhpc.jpegThe feeling of familiarity can be triggered by stimuli from all sensory modalities, suggesting a multimodal nature of its neural bases.

In the present experiment, we investigated this hypothesis by studying the neural bases of familiarity processing of odors and music. In particular, we focused on familiarity referring to the participants’ life experience. Items were classified as familiar or unfamiliar based on participants’ individual responses, and activation patterns evoked by familiar items were compared with those evoked by unfamiliar items. For the feeling of familiarity, a bimodal activation pattern was observed in the left hemisphere, specifically the superior and inferior frontal gyri, the precuneus, the angular gyrus, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the hippocampus.

Together with previously reported data on verbal items, visual items, and auditory items other than music, this outcome suggests a multimodal neural system of the feeling of familiarity. The feeling of unfamiliarity was related to a smaller bimodal activation pattern mainly located in the right insula and likely related to the detection of novelty.

Plailly et al. in Cerebral Cortex


thomasr

 


3 Comments


  1.  

    If we think of the feeling of familiarity as the opposite of the feeling of novelty, the brain mechanism that gives us a novelty signal might also be involved in signaling familiarity. In *The Cognitive brain* (pp.83-85), I have proposed a simple neuronal mechanism that can signal the novelty of a stimulus based upon the time it takes for a detection mechanism to classify the stimulus. This involves a latency threshold for the discharge of a novelty cell. If classification of the stimulus input occurs before the novelty-signalling cell is discharged, the integrated post-synaptic
    potential (EPSP) of the novelty cell is reset. The neuronal discharge which resets the novelty cell might be responsible for our feeling of familiarity since this mechanism would be multimodal (operative for detection over any sensory modality).

    Arnold Trehub




  2.  

    Dear Arnold,

    You are probably aware of this, but regions within the medial temporal lobe, especially the perirhinal cortex, is most sensitive to novelty (se refs below). Conversely, the hippocampus seems to be involved in familiarity processing, although there is a tight interdependence between the two processes and regions.

    Best,
    Thomas

    References:
    Dissociating intentional learning from relative novelty responses in the medial temporal lobe.
    Strange BA, Hurlemann R, Duggins A, Heinze HJ, Dolan RJ
    Neuroimage. 2005 Mar ; 25(1): 51-62

    Novelty responses to relational and non-relational information in the hippocampus and the parahippocampal region: a comparison based on event-related fMRI.
    Köhler S, Danckert S, Gati JS, Menon RS
    Hippocampus. 2005; 15(6): 763-74

    Conceptual and perceptual novelty effects in human medial temporal cortex.
    O’Kane G, Insler RZ, Wagner AD
    Hippocampus. 2005; 15(3): 326-32




  3.  

    Thanks, Thomas, for the references. While I was aware of other relevant work, I had not seen these reports.

    Best,
    Arnold





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