The processing of visual food cues during bitter aftertaste perception in females with high vs. low disgust propensity: an fMRI study

Anne Schienle, Albert Wabnegger
2021 Brain Imaging and Behavior  
An extremely bitter taste can signal food spoilage, and therefore typically elicits disgust. The present cross-modal functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment investigated whether the personality trait 'disgust propensity' (DP; temporally stable tendency to experience disgust across different situations) has an influence on the processing of visual food cues during bitter aftertaste perception. Thirty females with high DP and 30 females with low DP viewed images depicting sweet food
more » ... , cakes, ice cream) and vegetables, once in combination with an extremely bitter aftertaste (concentrated wormwood tea), and once with a neutral taste (water). Females highly prone to disgust (compared to low disgust-prone females) showed increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and increased mPFC-insula connectivity when presented with the mismatch of a bitter aftertaste and visual cues of sweet food. The ACC is involved in conflict monitoring and is strongly interconnected with insular areas. This connection plays a critical role in awareness of changes in homeostatic states. Our findings indicate that the personality trait DP is associated with cross-modal integration processes of disgust-relevant information. Females high in DP were more alert to food-related sensory mismatch (pleasant visual features, aversive taste) than females low in DP.
doi:10.1007/s11682-021-00455-2 pmid:33591560 pmcid:PMC8500869 fatcat:e3xuvu7e7rervghnhhq5r3lhji