Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Painful or disgusting? - ask parietal and cingulate cortex

Benuzzi et al. find brain activity specific for disgusting scenes in the posterior cingulate cortex. Signal changes in perigenual cingulate and left anterior insula are linearly related to the perceived unpleasantness. Painful scenes selectively induce activation of left parietal foci including the parietal operculum, the postcentral gyrus, and adjacent portions of the posterior parietal cortex. Their abstract is here, and here is one figure from the paper:

Top, Cortical foci active during the observation of painful video clips. Bottom, Cortical foci active during the observation of disgusting video clips.


  1. likes and dislikes are so often learned, and vary culturally, how can we know that the brain is not merely a recording mechanism, and causes nothing... i.e. that the little living areas in the brain scans are the result of something, and not cause, or even proof, of anything

  2. Correlations are not causes, but showing a particular area of the brain is usually associated with a particular function suggests that developmental and or genetic instructions have specialized it's circuitry and connections for that function.