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Liking and left amygdala activity during food versus nonfood processing are modulated by emotional context

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Kube,  Jana
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Morys,  Filip
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, McGill University, Montréal, QC, Canada;
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Schrimpf,  Anne
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Kanaan,  Ahmad S.
Methods and Development Unit Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;

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Gaebler,  Michael
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Berlin School of Mind and Brain,Humboldt University Berlin, Germany;

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Villringer,  Arno
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Horstmann,  Annette
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;

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Neumann,  Jane
Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany;
Department of Medical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Applied Sciences, Jena, Germany;

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Citation

García-García, I., Kube, J., Morys, F., Schrimpf, A., Kanaan, A. S., Gaebler, M., et al. (2019). Liking and left amygdala activity during food versus nonfood processing are modulated by emotional context. Cognitive, Affective and Behavioral Neuroscience. doi:10.3758/s13415-019-00754-8.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-2026-C
Abstract
Emotions can influence our eating behaviors. Facing an acute stressor or being in a positive mood are examples of situations that tend to modify appetite. However, the question of how the brain integrates these emotion-related changes in food processing remains elusive. Here, we designed an emotional priming fMRI task to test if amygdala activity during food pictures differs depending on the emotional context. Fifty-eight female participants completed a novel emotional priming task, in which emotional images of negative, neutral, or positive situations were followed by pictures of either foods or objects. After priming in each trial, participants rated how much they liked the shown foods or objects. We analyzed how brain activity during the contrast “foods > objects” changed according to the emotional context—in the whole brain and in the amygdala. We also examined the potential effect of adiposity (i.e., waist circumference). We observed a higher difference between liking scores for foods and objects after positive priming than after neutral priming. In the left amygdala, activity in the contrast “foods > objects” was higher after neutral priming relative to negative priming. Waist circumference was not significantly related to this emotional priming effect on food processing. Our results suggest that emotional context alters food and nonfood perception, both in terms of liking scores and with regard to engagement of the left amygdala. Moreover, our findings indicate that emotional context has an impact on the salience advantage of food, possibly affecting eating behavior.