Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Memories Influence Choice of Food

22.05.2015

The stronger our memory is of a certain food, the more likely we are to choose it – even if it is the more unattractive option. Psychologists at the University of Basel conducted a study on how memory influences our choices by offering various foods and using scans to track brain activity. The researchers were able to show that the influence of memory is mediated by increasing communication between the relevant brain areas. The study has been published in the scientific journal Neuron.

Many of our everyday decisions such as “What present should I give my girlfriend?” or “Where shall we go to eat?” are based on the retrieval of relevant information from memory. The neural and cognitive mechanism of this decision-making process had not been studied in depth until now. What is known is that these brain processes involve the hippocampus, a classic memory region, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in the frontal lobe, a decision-making region.

Choice of snacks

In the study, a team of psychologists at the University of Basel asked 30 hungry young people to rate 48 snacks – such as crisps, chocolate bars, pretzels and wine gums – in order of preference. The snacks were presented on a computer screen in association with a particular location. The subjects then went into a magnetic resonance image scanner and were asked to choose repeatedly between two snacks, for which only the location was shown. The subjects were thus forced to recall the snack associated with the location.

The results showed that the subjects tended to prefer the snacks that they were able to recall better. Furthermore, they chose the snacks they could recall better even if they had rated them lower in the initial task and therefore considered them less attractive. Only extremely unattractive snacks were rejected even if they were remembered. The control group of 30 subjects was shown the snacks directly on the screen and its choices corresponded with the initial ratings.

Model and brain scans

The research team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural mechanisms of memory-based decisions and developed a mathematical model to represent the decision-making process and the influence of memory.

This model enabled the team to determine the strength of memory-based activation during storage in the hippocampus. An analysis of the activation during the decision-making process showed an increase in communication between the hippocampus and the ventromedial prefrontal cortex.

“Our study builds a bridge between two central research fields of psychology, that is, memory and decision-making research,” says Dr. Sebastian Gluth, lead author of the study. The combination of mathematical modeling and brain scans also provides an accurate understanding of how the areas of the brain are linked to the psychological sub-processes and how these areas interact with one another.

The study was conducted in cooperation with Prof. Jörg Rieskamp (University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology, Economic Psychology) and Dr. Tobias Sommer and Dr. Christian Büchel from the Institute of Systems Neuroscience at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf.

Original article:
Sebastian Gluth, Tobias Sommer, Jörg Rieskamp and Christian Büchel
Effective connectivity between hippocampus and ventromedial prefrontal cortex controls preferential choices from memory
Neuron

Further information:
Dr. Sebastian Gluth, University of Basel, Faculty of Psychology, tel. +41 61 267 06 06, email: sebastian.gluth@unibas.ch

Olivia Poisson | Universität Basel
Further information:
http://www.unibas.ch

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study first to predict which oil and gas wells are leaking methane
21.12.2018 | University of Vermont

nachricht Droughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up
21.12.2018 | Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Flying Optical Cats for Quantum Communication

Dead and alive at the same time? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics have implemented Erwin Schrödinger’s paradoxical gedanken experiment employing an entangled atom-light state.

In 1935 Erwin Schrödinger formulated a thought experiment designed to capture the paradoxical nature of quantum physics. The crucial element of this gedanken...

Im Focus: Nanocellulose for novel implants: Ears from the 3D-printer

Cellulose obtained from wood has amazing material properties. Empa researchers are now equipping the biodegradable material with additional functionalities to produce implants for cartilage diseases using 3D printing.

It all starts with an ear. Empa researcher Michael Hausmann removes the object shaped like a human ear from the 3D printer and explains:

Im Focus: Elucidating the Atomic Mechanism of Superlubricity

The phenomenon of so-called superlubricity is known, but so far the explanation at the atomic level has been missing: for example, how does extremely low friction occur in bearings? Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institutes IWM and IWS jointly deciphered a universal mechanism of superlubricity for certain diamond-like carbon layers in combination with organic lubricants. Based on this knowledge, it is now possible to formulate design rules for supra lubricating layer-lubricant combinations. The results are presented in an article in Nature Communications, volume 10.

One of the most important prerequisites for sustainable and environmentally friendly mobility is minimizing friction. Research and industry have been dedicated...

Im Focus: Mission completed – EU partners successfully test new technologies for space robots in Morocco

Just in time for Christmas, a Mars-analogue mission in Morocco, coordinated by the Robotics Innovation Center of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) as part of the SRC project FACILITATORS, has been successfully completed. SRC, the Strategic Research Cluster on Space Robotics Technologies, is a program of the European Union to support research and development in space technologies. From mid-November to mid-December 2018, a team of more than 30 scientists from 11 countries tested technologies for future exploration of Mars and Moon in the desert of the Maghreb state.

Close to the border with Algeria, the Erfoud region in Morocco – known to tourists for its impressive sand dunes – offered ideal conditions for the four-week...

Im Focus: Programming light on a chip

Research opens doors in photonic quantum information processing, optical signal processing and microwave photonics

Researchers from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have developed a new integrated photonics platform that can...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Our digital society in 2040

16.01.2019 | Event News

11th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Aachen, 3-4 April 2019

14.01.2019 | Event News

ICTM Conference 2019: Digitization emerges as an engineering trend for turbomachinery construction

12.12.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Artificially produced cells communicate with each other: Models of life

17.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Velcro for human cells

16.01.2019 | Life Sciences

Kiel physicists discover new effect in the interaction of plasmas with solids

16.01.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>