Affect modulates appetite-related brain activity to images of food

William D.S. Killgore, Deborah A. Yurgelun-Todd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: We examined whether affect ratings predicted regional cerebral responses to high and low-calorie foods. Method: Thirteen normal-weight adult women viewed photographs of high and low-calorie foods while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Regression analysis was used to predict regional activation from positive and negative affect scores. Results: Positive and negative affect had different effects on several important appetite-related regions depending on the calorie content of the food images. When viewing high-calorie foods, positive affect was associated with increased activity in satiety-related regions of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, but when viewing low-calorie foods, positive affect was associated with increased activity in hunger-related regions including the medial orbitofrontal and insular cortex. The opposite pattern of activity was observed for negative affect. Conclusion: These findings suggest a neurobiologic substrate that may be involved in the commonly reported increase in cravings for calorie-dense foods during heightened negative emotions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Eating Disorders
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Anterior cingulate gyrus
  • Eating
  • Food
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Insula
  • Negative affect
  • Neuroimaging
  • Orbitofrontal cortex
  • Positive affect
  • Positive and Negative Affect Schedule

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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