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The hedonic component of eating is an underexplored topic within neuroscience, which is surprising given its importance for our survival and general well-being, as well as the obvious links to obesity and eating disorders. Based on findings from neuroimaging, this review gives an overview of the established principles, neural mechanisms and functional neuroanatomy of the primate and human brain processing systems involved in controlling eating. Four main processing principles underlying these processes are discussed: (1) motivation-independent discriminative processing of identity and intensity, (2) formation of learning-dependent multimodal sensory representations, (3) reward representations using mechanisms including selective satiation, and (4) representations of hedonic experience, monitoring/learning or direct behavioural change.

Original publication




Journal article


Forum Nutr

Publication Date





164 - 175


Animals, Cerebral Cortex, Eating, Homeostasis, Humans, Motivation, Reward, Satiation, Smell, Taste