Taste and flavor liking: Neurobiological correlates and behavioral diversity

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    Different people prefer different foods. This can be problematic for the food industry as researchers often study the "average individual". However, when it comes to taste, there is no average individual. Taking inter-individual differences into account is crucial to the enhanced prediction of whether a food product will be sold. Furthermore, food preference may be strongly related to emotions evoked by food consumption.
    Jelle Dalenberg, working at the Neuroimaging center in Groningen, Netherlands, has implemented a method, which is able to take inter-individual differences into account. By dividing a large group of people into smaller groups who are very similar in their responses, he was able to develop a better understanding about which people prefer which types of foods.
    Dalenberg has shown that emotions evoked by food consumption are a good predictor of what foods a person will choose for consumption. The relation between taste and emotion is apparent from functional brain imaging. Dalenberg asked people to taste different drinks while brain function was visualized in an MRI scanner. After tasting each drink, participants were instructed to indicate how much they liked it. Dalenberg demonstrated that tasting and taste preference are mainly processed in brain areas involved in emotional processing. Inter-individual differences in taste preferences can also be found within these brain areas.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Groningen
    • ter Horst, Gerrit, Supervisor
    • Lorist, Monicque, Supervisor
    • Renken, Remco, Co-supervisor
    • Reyners, An, Co-supervisor
    Award date10-Feb-2016
    Place of Publication[Groningen]
    Print ISBNs978-90-367-8571-6
    Electronic ISBNs978-90-367-8570-9
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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