Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Another article I have to read... someday

Published last week in the Journal of Neuroscience: Individual Differences in Reward Drive Predict Neural Responses to Images of Food

From the BBC:

The researchers showed people pictures of highly appetizing foods (eg chocolate cakes), bland foods (eg broccoli), and disgusting foods (eg rotten meat).

At the same time, they measured brain activity using a sophisticated fMRI scanner.

After testing, the study participants completed a questionnaire that assessed their general desire to pursue rewarding items or goals.

The results showed that the participant's scores on the reward sensitivity questionnaire predicted the extent to which the appetizing food images activated their brain's reward network.

I was sort of frustrated at the lack of detail as to which sites in the reward pathway were being activated, until I saw the Guardian article:

The study identifies how this relationship operates in the brain. It shows that individuals with higher reward sensitivity show increased activity in five key areas of the brain implicated in motivation or reward, and that this increase happens when they simply look at pictures of appetising food.
(emphasis mine)
Five areas seems impressive, but I don't have a lot of knowledge of fMRI work in reward pathways. So it could just be because I'm used to reading papers by people who can only work in one--or if they're really lucky or really good, two--brain area(s) at a time. Anyways, it seems worth checking out.

(Thanks to Neuromarketing)

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