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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 19, 2015

Cognitive Neuroscience Perspectives on Food Decision-Making: A Brief Introduction

Rebecca J. Lepping ORCID logo, Vlad B. Papa and Laura E. Martin


Cognitive neuroscience methods have recently been employed to examine the neural underpinnings of food-related decision-making. The emerging field of food decision neuroscience uses cognitive neuroscience tools such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to study how individuals make decisions regarding food intake, purchasing, branding, and advertising. These tools can be employed to inform marketing strategies, advertising, and product differentiation. Results can also be leveraged to aid in the design of food labeling and policy for obesity, advertising to children, and others. While these tools have the promise for advancing agricultural science as well as informing food related policy, there are some potential pitfalls when applying these techniques to new fields. The goal of this paper is to outline some of the major tools used by cognitive neuroscience – beginning with experimental design and behavioral measures, and then followed by a discussion of some of the neuroimaging tools (fMRI, electroencephalography and event-related potentials [EEG/ERP], and magnetoencephalography [MEG]) – and to highlight how those tools have been used to understand food decision-making.


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Published Online: 2015-11-19
Published in Print: 2015-1-1

©2015 by De Gruyter