Developmental changes in the functional brain responses of adolescents to images of high and low-calorie foods

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


We examined cerebral responses to visually presented food images in children and adolescents. Eight healthy normal-weight females (ages 9-15) underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) while viewing photographs of high- and low-calorie foods and dining utensils. In general, food images yielded significant activation within the inferior orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, and fusiform gyri. High calorie food images activated the left hippocampus and subgenual cingulate, and age correlated positively with activity within the orbitofrontal cortex but negatively with activity within the anterior cingulate gyrus. Low-calorie foods activated the fusiform gyrus and demonstrated age-related increases in the left superior temporal gyrus and anterior cingulate. Utensils activated the fusiform gyrus and showed age-related increases in the prefrontal cortex. Data were also compared statistically to a sample of adults exposed to the same stimulus conditions. Findings support a developmental model of adolescent maturation whereby age-related changes in cerebral functioning develop from lower-order sensory processing toward higher-order processing of stimuli via prefrontal conical systems involved in reward anticipation, self-monitoring, and behavioral inhibition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-397
Number of pages21
JournalDevelopmental Psychobiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2005


  • Adolescence
  • Adolescent
  • Amygdala
  • Development
  • Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
  • Eating
  • FMRI
  • Feeding
  • Food
  • Limbic system
  • Medial prefrontal cortex
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Developmental changes in the functional brain responses of adolescents to images of high and low-calorie foods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this