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Repeated exposure to highly palatable foods and elevated weight promote: 1) insensitivity to punishment in striatal regions and, 2) increased willingness to work for food. We hypothesized that BMI would be positively associated with negative prediction error BOLD response in the occipital cortex. Additionally, we postulated that food reinforcement value would be negatively associated with negative prediction error BOLD response in the orbital frontal cortex and amygdala. Postpartum women (n = 47; BMI = 25.5 ± 5.1) were 'trained' to associate specific cues paired to either a highly palatable milkshake or a sub-palatable milkshake. We then violated these cue-taste pairings in 40% of the trials by showing a palatable cue followed by the sub-palatable taste (negative prediction error). Contrary to our hypotheses, during negative prediction error (mismatched cue-taste) versus matched palatable cue-taste, women showed increased BOLD response in the central operculum (pFWE = 0.002; k = 1680;
-57, -7,14) and postcentral gyrus (pFWE = 0.006, k = 1219;
62, -8,18). When comparing the matched sub-palatable cue-taste to the negative prediction error trials, BOLD response increased in the postcentral gyrus (r = -0.60, pFWE = 0.008), putamen (r = -0.55, pFWE = 0.02), and insula (r = -0.50, pFWE = 0.01). Similarly, viewing the palatable cue vs sub-palatable cue was related to BOLD response in the putamen (pFWE = 0.025, k = 53;
-20, 6, -8) and the insula (pFWE = 0.04, k = 19,
38, -12, -6). Neither BMI at 6-month postpartum nor food reinforcement value was related to BOLD response. The insula and putamen appear to encode for visual food cue processing, and the gustatory and somatosensory cortices appear to encode negative prediction errors. Differential response in the somatosensory cortex to the matched cue-taste pairs to negative prediction error may indicate that a palatable cue may dull aversive qualities in the stimulus.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Physiology & behavior
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