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Open AccessReview

High-Caloric and Chocolate Stimuli Processing in Healthy Humans: An Integration of Functional Imaging and Electrophysiological Findings

Department of Psychology, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, RCB 5246, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2014, 6(1), 319-341;
Received: 2 September 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 5 December 2013 / Published: 10 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chocolate and Cocoa in Human Health)
PDF [472 KB, uploaded 10 January 2014]


There has been a great deal of interest in understanding how the human brain processes appetitive food cues, and knowing how such cues elicit craving responses is particularly relevant when current eating behavior trends within Westernized societies are considered. One substance that holds a special place with regard to food preference is chocolate, and studies that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potentials (ERPs) have identified neural regions and electrical signatures that are elicited by chocolate cue presentations. This review will examine fMRI and ERP findings from studies that used high-caloric food and chocolate cues as stimuli, with a focus on responses observed in samples of healthy participants, as opposed to those with eating-related pathology. The utility of using high-caloric and chocolate stimuli as a means of understanding the human reward system will also be highlighted, as these findings may be particularly important for understanding processes related to pathological overeating and addiction to illicit substances. Finally, research from our own lab that focused on chocolate stimulus processing in chocolate cravers and non-cravers will be discussed, as the approach used may help bridge fMRI and ERP findings so that a more complete understanding of appetitive stimulus processing in the temporal and spatial domains may be established. View Full-Text
Keywords: chocolate; fMRI; ERPs; high-caloric chocolate; fMRI; ERPs; high-caloric

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Asmaro, D.; Liotti, M. High-Caloric and Chocolate Stimuli Processing in Healthy Humans: An Integration of Functional Imaging and Electrophysiological Findings. Nutrients 2014, 6, 319-341.

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