Whether olfactory working memory involves verbal representations or neural images of odor per se remains unclear. This study investigated whether verbal representation influences performance in an olfactory delayed-match-to-sample task and used monorhinal presentation to generate hypotheses as to the underlying anatomy of this mechanism. The main findings were that (a) nameable odorants were easier to remember than hard-to-name odorants and (b) the nameability effect was more pronounced when the evaluation was done across nostrils. Considering these results within a proposed model implies dual representation in olfactory working memory: All odors, nameable and hard to name, are represented both perceptually and verbally.
- short-term memory
- working memory