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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02620

Implementation of a new food picture database in the context of fMRI and visual cognitive food-choice task in healthy volunteers

Yentl GAUTIER1, Paul MEURICE1,  Nicolas Coquery1, Aymery CONSTANT2,  Elise Bannier3, Yann SERRAND1, Jean-Christophe FERRE4, Romain MOIRAND5 and  David Val-Laillet6*
  • 1INSERM U1241 Nutrition Métabolismes et Cancer, France
  • 2École des Hautes Etudes en Santé Publique, France
  • 3UMR6074 Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires (IRISA), France
  • 4UMR6074 Institut de Recherche en Informatique et Systèmes Aléatoires (IRISA), France
  • 5INSERM U1241 Nutrition Métabolismes et Cancer, France
  • 6Division of Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour, INSERM U1241 Nutrition Métabolismes et Cancer, France

This pilot study aimed at implementing a new food picture database in the context of fMRI cognitive food-choice task, with an internal conflict or not, in healthy normal-weight adults. The database contains 170 photographs including starters, main courses and desserts, presents a broad-spectrum of energy content, and is provided with portion weight and nutritional information. It was tested in sixteen participants who evaluated the energy density and gave a liking score for all food pictures via numerical scales. First, volunteers were segregated in two groups according to their eating habits according to a Food Consumption Frequency Questionnaire (FCFQ) to assess whether the database might elicit different appreciations according to individual eating habits. Second, participants underwent fMRI cognitive food-choice task (Van der Laan et al., 2014), using our picture database, in which they had to choose between high- (HE) versus low-energy (LE) foods, under a Similar Liking condition (SL, foods with similar hedonic appraisals), or a Different Liking condition (DL, foods with different hedonic appraisals).
Participants evaluated correctly the caloric content of dishes (from r=0.72 to r=0.79, P<0.001), confirming a good perception of the caloric discrepancies between food pictures. Two subgroups based on FCFQ followed by a principal component analysis (PCA) and a hierarchical ascendant classification (HAC) were defined, i.e. Prudent-type (PTc, N=9) vs. Western-type (WTc, N=7) consumers, where the WTc group showed higher consumption of high-energy palatable foods than PTc (P<0.05). The WTc group showed a higher correlation between liking and caloric evaluation of the food pictures as compared to PTc (r=0.77 and r=0.36 respectively, P<0.001), confirming that food pictures elicited variable responses according to contrasted individual eating habits. The fMRI analyses showed that the DL condition elicited the activation of dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex (dACC), involved in internal conflict monitoring, whereas SL condition did not, and that LE food choice involved high-level cognitive processes with higher activation of the hippocampus and fusiform gyrus compared to HE food choice. Overall, this pilot study validated the use of the food pictures database and fMRI-based procedure assessing decision-making processing during a food choice cognitive task with and without internal conflict.

Keywords: Eating Habits, decision-making, internal conflict, Brain, healthy subjects

Received: 23 Jul 2019; Accepted: 06 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 GAUTIER, MEURICE, Coquery, CONSTANT, Bannier, SERRAND, FERRE, MOIRAND and Val-Laillet. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. David Val-Laillet, INSERM U1241 Nutrition Métabolismes et Cancer, Division of Nutrition, Chemical Food Safety and Consumer Behaviour, Rennes, 35590, France,