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Nature. 2006 Nov 16;444(7117):316-21.

Smell images and the flavour system in the human brain.

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Department of Neurobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


Flavour perception is one of the most complex of human behaviours. It involves almost all of the senses, particularly the sense of smell, which is involved through odour images generated in the olfactory pathway. In the human brain, the perceptual systems are closely linked to systems for learning, memory, emotion and language, so distributed neural mechanisms contribute to food preference and food cravings. Greater recognition of the role of the brain's flavour system and its connection with eating behaviour is needed for a deeper understanding of why people eat what they do, and to generate better recommendations about diet and nutrition.

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