Neural responses during the anticipation and receipt of olfactory reward and punishment in human

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  • Lai-Quan Zou, Department of Psychology, School of Public Health, Southern Medical University (Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research), Guangzhou, Guangdong, China; Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
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  • Han-Yu Zhou, Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
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  • Yuan Zhuang, Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; CAS Key Laboratory of Behavioural Science, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
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  • Tim J van Hartevelt, University of Oxford, Department of Psychiatry, Warneford Hospital, Oxford, UK; Department of Nuclear Medicine and PET Centre, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark; Aarhus University, Centre for Functionally Integrative Neuroscience (CFIN), Denmark.
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  • Simon S Y Lui, Castle Peak Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administration Region, China; Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.
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  • Eric F C Cheung, Castle Peak Hospital, Hong Kong Special Administration Region, China.
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  • Arne Møller
  • Morten L Kringelbach
  • Raymond C K Chan, Neuropsychology and Applied Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, CAS Key Laboratory of Mental Health, Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Department of Psychology, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China; Sino-Danish Center, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Electronic address: rckchan@psych.ac.cn.

Pleasure experience is an important part of normal healthy life and is essential for general and mental well-being. Many neuroimaging studies have investigated the underlying neural processing of verbal and visual modalities of reward. However, how the brain processes rewards in the olfactory modality is not fully understood. This study aimed to examine the neural basis of olfactory rewards in 25 healthy participants using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We developed an Olfactory Incentive Delay (OLID) imaging task distinguishing between the anticipation and receipt of olfactory rewards and punishments. We found that the pallidum was activated during the anticipation of both olfactory rewards and punishments. The bilateral insula was activated independently from the odours' hedonic valence during the receipt phase. In addition, right caudate activation during the anticipation of unpleasant odours was correlated with self-reported anticipatory hedonic traits, whereas bilateral insular activation during the receipt of pleasant odours was correlated with self-reported consummatory hedonic traits. These findings suggest that activity in the insula and the caudate may be biomarkers of anhedonia. These findings also highlight a useful and valid paradigm to study the neural circuitry underlying reward processing in people with anhedonia.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume111
Pages (from-to)172-179
ISSN0028-3932
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Journal Article

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