Disgust sensitivity predicts the insula and pallidal response to pictures of disgusting foods

Eur J Neurosci. 2007 Jun;25(11):3422-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05604.x.


The anterior insula has been implicated in coding disgust from facial, pictorial and olfactory cues, and in the experience of this emotion. Personality research has shown considerable variation in individuals' trait propensity to experience disgust ('disgust sensitivity'). Our study explored the neural expression of this trait, and demonstrates that individual variation in disgust sensitivity is significantly correlated with participants' ventroanterior insular response to viewing pictures of disgusting, but not appetizing or bland, foods. Similar correlations were also seen in the pallidum and orofacial regions of motor and somatosensory cortices. Our results also accord with comparative research showing an anterior to posterior gradient in the rat pallidum reflecting increased 'liking' of foods [Smith, K. S. and Berridge, K. C. (2005) J. Neurosci., 25, 849-8637].

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Food*
  • Globus Pallidus / blood supply
  • Globus Pallidus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Temporal Lobe / blood supply
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*


  • Oxygen