Congruent visual cues augment sensitivity to brief olfactory presentations and habituation of odor perception is modulated by central-cognitive processing including context. However, it is not known whether habituation to odors could interact with cross-modal congruent stimuli. The present research investigated the effect of visual congruence on odor detection sensitivity during continuous odor exposures. We utilized a multimethod approach, including subjective behavioral responses and reaction times (RTs; study 1) and electroencephalography (EEG, study 2). Study 1: 25 participants received 2-min presentations of moderate-intensity floral odor delivered via olfactometer with congruent (flower) and incongruent (object) image presentations. Participants indicated odor perception after each image. Detection sensitivity and RTs were analyzed in epochs covering the period of habituation. Study 2: 25 new participants underwent EEG recordings during 145-s blocks of odor presentations with congruent or incongruent images. Participants passively observed images and intermittently rated the perceived intensity of odor. Event-related potential analysis was utilized to evaluate brain processing related to odor–visual pairs across the period of habituation. Odor detection sensitivity and RTs were improved by congruent visual cues. Results highlighted a diminishing influence of visual congruence on odor detection sensitivity as habituation occurred. Event-related potential analysis revealed an effect of congruency on electrophysiological processing in the N400 component. This was only evident in early periods of odor exposure when perception was strong. For the first time, this demonstrates the modulation of central processing of odor–visual pairs by habituation. Frontal negativity (N400) responses encode the aspects of cross-modal congruence for odor–vision cross-modal tasks.

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