Pictures of appetizing foods activate gustatory cortices for taste and reward

Simmons, W. K., Martin, A. and Barsalou, L. W. (2005) Pictures of appetizing foods activate gustatory cortices for taste and reward. Cerebral Cortex, 15(10), pp. 1602-1608. (doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhi038) (PMID:15703257)

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Increasing research indicates that concepts are represented as distributed circuits of property information across the brain's modality-specific areas. The current study examines the distributed representation of an important but under-explored category, foods. Participants viewed pictures of appetizing foods (along with pictures of locations for comparison) during event-related fMRI. Compared to location pictures, food pictures activated the right insula/operculum and the left orbitofrontal cortex, both gustatory processing areas. Food pictures also activated regions of visual cortex that represent object shape. Together these areas contribute to a distributed neural circuit that represents food knowledge. Not only does this circuit become active during the tasting of actual foods, it also becomes active while viewing food pictures. Via the process of pattern completion, food pictures activate gustatory regions of the circuit to produce conceptual inferences about taste. Consistent with theories that ground knowledge in the modalities, these inferences arise as reenactments of modality-specific processing.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barsalou, Professor Lawrence
Authors: Simmons, W. K., Martin, A., and Barsalou, L. W.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Psychology
Journal Name:Cerebral Cortex
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1460-2199

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