Event-related potentials show taste and risk effects on food evaluation

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Tastes and claims about unhealthy food are important factors that affect consumption. This study investigated the correlation of the event-related potential (ERP) of the evaluation of processing of food information with the task of positive judgment. Given the information on possible diseases that arise with food consumption, sweet-tasting food elicited more conflict than salty food, and this conflict was reflected by a negative ERP component at 250–500 ms (N400). Moreover, the late positive wave at 500–800 ms that was evoked by presentation of food with the names of chronic diseases that could arise from the consumption of such food was larger than that evoked when acute diseases were presented. Sweet-tasting food caused a more intense conflict with disease-related risk than salty food, and chronic diseases aroused a stronger emotional fear than acute diseases. These findings provide new insights into the N400 component and the neurocognitive processes of evaluating food combined with taste and risk information.

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