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Keywords:

  • appetite;
  • basal ganglia;
  • emotion;
  • food rejection;
  • reward

Abstract

The anterior insula has been implicated in coding disgust from facial, pictorial and olfactory cues, and in the experience of this emotion. Personality research has shown considerable variation in individuals' trait propensity to experience disgust (‘disgust sensitivity’). Our study explored the neural expression of this trait, and demonstrates that individual variation in disgust sensitivity is significantly correlated with participants' ventroanterior insular response to viewing pictures of disgusting, but not appetizing or bland, foods. Similar correlations were also seen in the pallidum and orofacial regions of motor and somatosensory cortices. Our results also accord with comparative research showing an anterior to posterior gradient in the rat pallidum reflecting increased ‘liking’ of foods [Smith, K. S. and Berridge, K. C. (2005) J. Neurosci., 25, 849–8637].