Why does olfactory sensation need lateral inhibition? If it's not helping in spatial discrimination then why is it needed? Don't we just smell the odour which is more concentrated?
My attempt: It is said that lateral inhibition is an important part of olfaction as it aids in odour discrimination by decreasing firing in response to background odours and differentiating the responses of olfactory nerve inputs in the mitral cell layer. But we also know that sensory perception is based on the pattern of receptors activated by the stimulus. So following questions arise:
Why don't background odours laterally inhibit the target odour? Isn't there more chance of inhibition of target odour being inhibited since its concentration is less?