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4.13 – Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study Of Taste

A. Faurion, T. Kobayakawa, B. Cerf-Ducastel
Published 2008 · Psychology

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This chapter presents first a brief history of functional magnetic resonance imaging applied to the study of task-dependent cerebral activation, with a few technical references to unravel the field of possibilities now at hand for experimental imaging of brain at work. Recorded data come from a brain busy with various tasks in time-sharing including cognitive aspects eventually masking the punctual experimental tasks. No information about the pure sensory function (bottom-up) can emerge without a comprehensive set of multiple protocols used comparatively. Psychophysical intensity evaluations are among the most objective correlates that can help imaging taste sensory function. The chapter follows with a review of sensory aspects of taste tentatively mapped so far, including the timing of activation, the coding of intensity, and the absence of chemotopy, probably due to large interindividual differences. The chapter shifts to integrative functions related to taste (pointing to the role of the anterior inferior insula in the dominant hemisphere), to the imagination of taste (top-down) versus perception of taste, and to learning by familiarization. Then, a large place is made to the orbitofrontal cortex, an integrative area contributing to hedonic valence and food reward and to amygdala implicated in hedonic valence, emotion, and memorization.
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