Congratulations to Alice on her paper "Neural Representations of Food-Related Attributes in the Human Orbitofrontal Cortex During Choice Deliberation in Anorexia Nervosa" in JNeuro!

November 10, 2021

You can read Alice's paper here

And to entice you, here is the abstract:


Decisions about what to eat recruit the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and involve the evaluation of food-related attributes, such as taste and health. These attributes are utilized differently by healthy individuals and patients with disordered eating behavior, but it is unclear whether these attributes are decodable from activity in the OFC in both groups and whether neural representations of these attributes are differentially related to decisions about food. We used fMRI combined with behavioral tasks to investigate the representation of taste and health attributes in the human OFC and the role of these representations in food choices in healthy women and women with anorexia nervosa (AN). We found that subjective ratings of tastiness and healthiness could be decoded from patterns of activity in the OFC in both groups. However, health-related patterns of activity in the OFC were more related to the magnitude of choice preferences among patients with AN than healthy individuals. These findings suggest that maladaptive decision-making in AN is associated with more consideration of health information represented by the OFC during deliberation about what to eat.


An open question about the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is whether it supports the evaluation of food-related attributes during deliberation about what to eat. We found that healthiness and tastiness information were decodable from patterns of neural activity in the OFC in both patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and healthy controls. Critically, neural representations of health were more strongly related to choices in patients with AN, suggesting that maladaptive over-consideration of healthiness during deliberation about what to eat is related to activity in the OFC. More broadly, these results show that activity in the human OFC is associated with the evaluation of relevant attributes during value-based decision-making. These findings may also guide future research into the development of treatments for AN.