Poster F133, Tuesday, March 28, 8:00 – 10:00 am, Pacific Concourse
Medial Prefrontal Cortex Activation for Food Tracks Individual Differences in Food-reward Sensitivity
Timothy Kelley1, Jason Van Allen1, Tyler Davis1; 1Texas Tech University
FMRI-based food cue reactivity (FCR), the difference in activation elicited by food compared to non-food objects, has been found to track a number of clinically relevant variables in food consumption research such as obesity and efficacy of dietary interventions. Although useful for looking at such person-level variables, FCR alone cannot isolate specific neurocognitive processes that change with obesity and problematic eating behaviors such as changes in reward processing, attentional salience, and behavioral disinhibition. In the present study, we sought to isolate brain regions that track individual differences in reward sensitivity during FCR by pairing it with a relative reinforcing value (RRV) task that measures how much effort participants are willing to expend to obtain food rewards. Participants first completed an FCR task in the MRI by rating how much they wanted different foods and objects. This was followed by an RRV task in which participants could play a computerized slot machine for points toward food rewards. Consistent with its broader role in reward processing, we found that activation in medial prefrontal cortex was positively associated with how many times the participants were willing to play the slot machine. These results suggest that it may be possible to isolate specific neurocognitive processes impacted by food consumption within FCR tasks by pairing FCR with measures that selectively target such functions.
Topic Area: THINKING: Decision making