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Dr. (habil.) Kathrin Ohla
Nancy Ewert
phone: 033200 88-2114
Office.PSY@dife.de

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Printversion of: http://www.www.dife.de/forschung/abteilungen/kurzprofil.php?abt=PSY&lang=en
Status: 18.12.2017 03:54:49

Image Psychophysiology of Food Perception

Junior Research Group Psychophysiology of Food Perception (PSY)

Profile

Field of research

The junior research group (established in June, 2012) investigates the psychophysiological foundations of taste perception and the interaction of taste with other senses relevant to food perception and hedonic valuation (palatability) of food in humans.

Background

The ability to taste is crucial for food choice and the formation of food preferences. Impairments in taste perception or hedonic experience of taste can cause deviant eating behavior, which in turn may lead to mal- or supernutrition. Under- or malnutrition is found particularly in the elderly, which experience the loss of sensory functions such as the ability to taste and smell, and thereby a reduction in eating pleasure. Excess food intake poses the other extreme; it is considered one of several determinants leading to overweight and obesity, which has become a global epidemic. In order to understand food choice and food intake behavior, we need to understand the basic mechanisms of taste and food perception and the pleasurable experiences involved thereof.

Objective

The research of the group aims at gaining a better understanding mechanisms of the brain that underlie the perception and hedonic valuation of food. This knowledge will be one step toward unraveling the mechanisms that control food choice. To this end, the group investigates how food-related information, i.e., taste, smell or visual impressions, are processed in the human brain, how different bits of information interact with each other and how these processes translate into behavior like acceptance or rejection of food. We use the following techniques to achieve our goals:

• Psychophysical investigations of chemosensory perception

• Electroencephalographic measures and functional neuroimaging of brain activity

• Modelling of perceptual and cognitive processes

• Development of methods for the presentation of food stimuli in a laboratory environment

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