MRI brain scan reveals unexpected choice after smelling freshly baked bread

Published on
May 22, 2018

Wageningen scientists drew an unexpected conclusion after experiments with odours; when smelling bread, test subjects did not choose bread more often. MRI brain scans of the test subjects did show an effect of the smell of bread: the reward system in the brain was activated. But when the test subjects had to choose between standardised images of white bread, brown bread and cookies, the exposure to the bread aroma had varying effects. The aroma of bread turned out to increase the choice for cookies, whereas the smell of warm wood led to a more prominent preference for brown bread.

MRI scanner

The Shared Research Facilities’ MRI scanner can be used for (clinical) diagnostics as well as fundamental or applied research, such as measuring the effects in the brain when test subjects smell or eat foods.