EEG measures of attention toward food-related stimuli vary with food neophobia
van Erp, J.B.F.
Humans differ strongly in their willingness to try novel foods. Hesitance to try new foods is referred to as food neophobia. Understanding food neophobia is important, as it can be a significant barrier to adopt a healthy, balanced or plant-based diet. We here use electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings to obtain insight in the early attentional processes towards food stimuli as a function of food neophobia. 43 Dutch participants completed the food neophobia scale after which they were presented with pictures of familiar and unfamiliar foods and a 15-minute movie about the origin and production of an unfamiliar food. We extracted two EEG-based metrics of attention: the late positive potential (LPP) amplitude in response to the food pictures, and inter-subject correlations (ISC-EEG) during the movie. The latter is a novel metric, based on similarities in EEG over time between individuals who are presented with the same stimulus, and suitable for examining attention towards continuous stimuli such as movies. Additionally, participants were asked to taste familiar and unfamiliar soups, and they were asked to rate the pictures and soups for valence and arousal. ISC-EEG and the LPP amplitude increased and sip size decreased with food neophobia, not only for unfamiliar food pictures, but also for familiar food pictures. Self-reported emotional experience was affected by food neophobia for unfamiliar food pictures or soups, but not for familiar ones. We conclude that food neophobia is associated with increased attentional processing and immediate implicit behavior, for all food stimuli and not only for unfamiliar food stimuli. This indicates that all food-related stimuli are of high importance to food neophobic individuals and that self-reported emotion does not capture the entire experience of food. The results also indicates that, unlike the name suggest, food neophobia does not only affect processing of novel foods, but of any food regardless of familiarity. The data that has been used is confidential.
To reference this document use:
Food Quality and Preference, 106 (106)