The temporal change in the cortical activations due to salty and sweet tastes in humans: fMRI and time-intensity sensory evaluation

Neuroreport. 2012 Apr 18;23(6):400-4. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32835271b7.


It remains unclear how the cerebral cortex of humans perceives taste temporally, and whether or not such objective data about the brain show a correlation with the current widely used conventional methods of taste-intensity sensory evaluation. The aim of this study was to investigate the difference in the time-intensity profile between salty and sweet tastes in the human brain. The time-intensity profiles of functional MRI (fMRI) data of the human taste cortex were analyzed using finite impulse response analysis for a direct interpretation in terms of the peristimulus time signal. Also, time-intensity sensory evaluations for tastes were performed under the same condition as fMRI to confirm the reliability of the temporal profile in the fMRI data. The time-intensity profile for the brain activations due to a salty taste changed more rapidly than those due to a sweet taste in the human brain cortex and was also similar to the time-intensity sensory evaluation, confirming the reliability of the temporal profile of the fMRI data. In conclusion, the time-intensity profile using finite impulse response analysis for fMRI data showed that there was a temporal difference in the neural responses between salty and sweet tastes over a given period of time. This indicates that there might be taste-specific temporal profiles of activations in the human brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Sucrose / pharmacology*
  • Taste / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sucrose