Publications and Research

Document Type


Publication Date



Although many responses to odorous stimuli are mediated without olfactory information being consciously processed, some olfactory behaviors require conscious information processing. I will here contrast situations in which olfactory information is processed consciously to situations in which it is processed non-consciously. This contrastive analysis reveals that conscious information processing is required when an organism is faced with tasks in which there are many behavioral options available. I therefore propose that it is the evolutionary function of conscious information processing to guide behaviors in situations in which the organism has to choose between many possible responses.


This article originally appeared in Frontiers in Psychology, available at DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00062

© 2014 Keller. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.