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Flavor pleasantness processing in the ventral emotion network

Dalenberg, J. R., Weitkamp, L., Renken, R. J., Nanetti, L. & Horst, ter, G., 16-Feb-2017, In : PLoS ONE. 12, 2, 20 p., e0170310.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

The ventral emotion network -encompassing the amygdala, insula, ventral striatum, and ventral regions of the prefrontal cortex - has been associated with the identification of emotional significance of perceived external stimuli and the production of affective states. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies investigating chemosensory stimuli have associated parts of this network with pleasantness coding. In the current study, we independently analyzed two datasets in which we measured brain responses to flavor stimuli in young adult men. In the first dataset, participants evaluated eight regular off the shelf drinking products while participants evaluated six less familiar oral nutritional supplements (ONS) in the second dataset. Participants provided pleasantness ratings 20 seconds after tasting. Using independent component analysis (ICA) and mixed effect models, we identified one brain network in the regular products dataset that was associated with flavor pleasantness. This network was very similar to the ventral emotion network. Although we identified an identical network in the ONS dataset using ICA, we found no linear relation between activation of any network and pleasantness scores within this dataset. Our results indicate that flavor pleasantness is processed in a network encompassing amygdala, ventral prefrontal, insular, striatal and parahippocampal regions for familiar drinking products. For more unfamiliar ONS products the association is not obvious, which could be related to the unfamiliarity of these products.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0170310
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16-Feb-2017

    Keywords

  • HUMAN ORBITOFRONTAL CORTEX, INDEPENDENT COMPONENT ANALYSIS, BRAIN ACTIVATION, AVERSIVE TASTE, HUMAN AMYGDALA, FMRI, REWARD, REPRESENTATION, INTENSITY, HUMANS

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