Subjective feeling of appetite modulates brain activity. An fMRI study

Katarína Porubská, Ralf Veit, Hubert Preissl, Andreas Fritsche, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Obesity and overweight are important risk factors for the development of diabetes mellitus type 2 and associated chronic diseases, and therefore, they have become serious global problems in the western and developed countries. But little is known about the neuroanatomical correlates of eating behavior and its influences on the central nervous processing in humans. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the cortical activation in 12 lean healthy humans during visual stimulation with food-related and nonfood pictures after a fasting period of at least 5 h. Compared to the nonfood pictures, the food stimuli elicited a significantly greater activity in the left orbitofrontal cortex and the insular/opercular cortex bilaterally with a stronger focus on the left side. Subjective ratings of appetite during the presentation of food-related stimuli modulated the activity in the insula bilaterally, the left operculum and the right putamen. These results provide further insights in the central nervous processing of food relevant stimuli in humans, specifically with respect to the subjective experience of appetite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1280
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2006


  • Eating behavior
  • Food
  • Hunger
  • Motivation
  • Neuroimaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Neurology

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    Porubská, K., Veit, R., Preissl, H., Fritsche, A., & Birbaumer, N. (2006). Subjective feeling of appetite modulates brain activity. An fMRI study. NeuroImage, 32(3), 1273-1280.