Localisation of regions of intense pleasure response evoked by soccer goals.
“Localisation of regions of intense pleasure responses will lead to a better understanding of the reward mechanisms in the brain. Here we present a novel fMRI video paradigm designed to evoke high levels of pleasure in a specific test group and to distinguish regions of pleasure from anticipation. It exploits the intense commitment of soccer supporters and thus captures the intense euphoric feeling experienced when a soccer goal is scored. Nine healthy male subjects were imaged. Statistically significant activation clusters were determined for four contrasts: (i) goals vs. open play; (ii) missed chances vs. open play; (iii) goals vs. missed chances; and (iv) goals and missed chances vs. open play. Superior temporal, inferior frontal and amygdala were activated by all contrasts. Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) was activated in contrasts (i) and (iii), suggesting that the ACC is involved in processing pleasure. The putamen was activated in contrasts (i), (ii) and (iv) implicating involvement of this region in the anticipation of pleasure. This paradigm activates brain regions known to be involved in pleasure-processing networks. The structure of the paradigm allows the separation of anticipation from the pleasure stimulus and provides a paradigm devoid of decision-making.”
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