Description: These images contain the contrast images and response maps provided in the paper. Abstract: The primary gustatory area is located in the insular cortex. Although the insular cortex has been the topic of multiple parcellation studies, its functional specialization regarding taste processing received relatively little attention. Studies investigating the brain response to taste suggested that the insular cortex is involved in processing multiple characteristics of a taste stimulus, such as its quality, intensity, and pleasantness. In the current functional magnetic resonance study, younger and older adult male subjects were exposed to four basic tastes in five increasing concentrations. We applied a data-driven analysis to obtain insular response maps, which showed that the insular cortex processes the presence of taste, its corresponding pleasantness, as well as its concentration. More specifically, the left and right insular cortices are differentially engaged in processing the aforementioned taste characteristics: representations of the presence of a taste stimulus as well as its corresponding pleasantness dominate in the left insular cortex, whereas taste concentration processing dominates in the right insular cortex. These results were similar across both age groups. Our results fit well within previous cytoarchitectural studies and show insular lateralization in processing different aspects of taste stimuli in men.
Related article: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.06.062
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