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Effects of social sustainability signaling on neural valuation signals and taste-experience of food products.

Enax L, Krapp V, Piehl A, Weber B - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates.Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products.The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn Bonn, Germany ; Department of NeuroCognition/Imaging, Life and Brain Center Bonn, Germany ; Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Value-based decision making occurs when individuals choose between different alternatives and place a value on each alternative and its attributes. Marketing actions frequently manipulate product attributes, by adding, e.g., health claims on the packaging. A previous imaging study found that an emblem for organic products increased willingness to pay (WTP) and activity in the ventral striatum (VS). The current study investigated neural and behavioral processes underlying the influence of Fair Trade (FT) labeling on food valuation and choice. Sustainability is an important product attribute for many consumers, with FT signals being one way to highlight ethically sustainable production. Forty participants valuated products in combination with an FT emblem or no emblem and stated their WTP in a bidding task while in an MRI scanner. After that, participants tasted-objectively identical-chocolates, presented either as "FT" or as "conventionally produced". In the fMRI task, WTP was significantly higher for FT products. FT labeling increased activity in regions important for reward-processing and salience, that is, in the VS, anterior and posterior cingulate, as well as superior frontal gyrus. Subjective value, that is, WTP was correlated with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). We find that the anterior cingulate, VS and superior frontal gyrus exhibit task-related increases in functional connectivity to the vmPFC when an FT product was evaluated. Effective connectivity analyses revealed a highly probable directed modulation of the vmPFC by those three regions, suggesting a network which alters valuation processes. We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates. Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products. The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Summary of the functional connectivity results. WTP is correlated with voxels in the vmPFC (red, parametric modulation analysis, GLM 2). As WTP is higher for FT products, it is of interest to find out which regions exhibit increased task-related (FT vs. conv) functional connectivity with the vmPFC. We find that the superior frontal gyrus (green) and the ventral striatum (cyan) exhibit increased task-related connectivity in response to FT labels with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, small-volume FWE corrected). The ACC also exhibits increased task-related connectivity, but with a more lateral portion of the vmPFC that is not shown in the left slice. Data are shown using MRIcroGL (MNI template) and in radiological convention.
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Figure 6: Summary of the functional connectivity results. WTP is correlated with voxels in the vmPFC (red, parametric modulation analysis, GLM 2). As WTP is higher for FT products, it is of interest to find out which regions exhibit increased task-related (FT vs. conv) functional connectivity with the vmPFC. We find that the superior frontal gyrus (green) and the ventral striatum (cyan) exhibit increased task-related connectivity in response to FT labels with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, small-volume FWE corrected). The ACC also exhibits increased task-related connectivity, but with a more lateral portion of the vmPFC that is not shown in the left slice. Data are shown using MRIcroGL (MNI template) and in radiological convention.

Mentions: To investigate the network that may be responsible for the bias toward FT products, we performed PPI analyses. We were interested, whether the presence of an FT emblem (vs. no emblem) differentially modulates activity in the vmPFC, which correlates with the subjective value, or the VS, which was also shown to integrate different attributes (Haber, 2011). Seed regions of interest included the PCC, ACC, VS, and the SFG. The SFG shows robust activation in the contrast fair > conv and also correlates with WTP (at a more liberal threshold of puncorrected < 0.001). This region was also active in a prior organic labeling study (Linder et al., 2010). We were interested if these regions show increased task-related (fair > conv) coupling with the vmPFC, and possibly with the VS. These clusters may be critical in mediating the bias toward FT products, and increased WTP associated with FT products. We find that the VS, ACC as well as the SFG exhibit task-related increased functional connectivity with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, SV FWE corrected). The PCC does not show any task-related functional connectivity with the vmPFC. Neither the PCC, nor ACC and SFG show increased task-related connectivity with the VS. See Figure 6 for an overview and Table 4 for complete results.


Effects of social sustainability signaling on neural valuation signals and taste-experience of food products.

Enax L, Krapp V, Piehl A, Weber B - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Summary of the functional connectivity results. WTP is correlated with voxels in the vmPFC (red, parametric modulation analysis, GLM 2). As WTP is higher for FT products, it is of interest to find out which regions exhibit increased task-related (FT vs. conv) functional connectivity with the vmPFC. We find that the superior frontal gyrus (green) and the ventral striatum (cyan) exhibit increased task-related connectivity in response to FT labels with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, small-volume FWE corrected). The ACC also exhibits increased task-related connectivity, but with a more lateral portion of the vmPFC that is not shown in the left slice. Data are shown using MRIcroGL (MNI template) and in radiological convention.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561672&req=5

Figure 6: Summary of the functional connectivity results. WTP is correlated with voxels in the vmPFC (red, parametric modulation analysis, GLM 2). As WTP is higher for FT products, it is of interest to find out which regions exhibit increased task-related (FT vs. conv) functional connectivity with the vmPFC. We find that the superior frontal gyrus (green) and the ventral striatum (cyan) exhibit increased task-related connectivity in response to FT labels with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, small-volume FWE corrected). The ACC also exhibits increased task-related connectivity, but with a more lateral portion of the vmPFC that is not shown in the left slice. Data are shown using MRIcroGL (MNI template) and in radiological convention.
Mentions: To investigate the network that may be responsible for the bias toward FT products, we performed PPI analyses. We were interested, whether the presence of an FT emblem (vs. no emblem) differentially modulates activity in the vmPFC, which correlates with the subjective value, or the VS, which was also shown to integrate different attributes (Haber, 2011). Seed regions of interest included the PCC, ACC, VS, and the SFG. The SFG shows robust activation in the contrast fair > conv and also correlates with WTP (at a more liberal threshold of puncorrected < 0.001). This region was also active in a prior organic labeling study (Linder et al., 2010). We were interested if these regions show increased task-related (fair > conv) coupling with the vmPFC, and possibly with the VS. These clusters may be critical in mediating the bias toward FT products, and increased WTP associated with FT products. We find that the VS, ACC as well as the SFG exhibit task-related increased functional connectivity with the vmPFC (p < 0.05, SV FWE corrected). The PCC does not show any task-related functional connectivity with the vmPFC. Neither the PCC, nor ACC and SFG show increased task-related connectivity with the VS. See Figure 6 for an overview and Table 4 for complete results.

Bottom Line: We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates.Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products.The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn Bonn, Germany ; Department of NeuroCognition/Imaging, Life and Brain Center Bonn, Germany ; Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Value-based decision making occurs when individuals choose between different alternatives and place a value on each alternative and its attributes. Marketing actions frequently manipulate product attributes, by adding, e.g., health claims on the packaging. A previous imaging study found that an emblem for organic products increased willingness to pay (WTP) and activity in the ventral striatum (VS). The current study investigated neural and behavioral processes underlying the influence of Fair Trade (FT) labeling on food valuation and choice. Sustainability is an important product attribute for many consumers, with FT signals being one way to highlight ethically sustainable production. Forty participants valuated products in combination with an FT emblem or no emblem and stated their WTP in a bidding task while in an MRI scanner. After that, participants tasted-objectively identical-chocolates, presented either as "FT" or as "conventionally produced". In the fMRI task, WTP was significantly higher for FT products. FT labeling increased activity in regions important for reward-processing and salience, that is, in the VS, anterior and posterior cingulate, as well as superior frontal gyrus. Subjective value, that is, WTP was correlated with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). We find that the anterior cingulate, VS and superior frontal gyrus exhibit task-related increases in functional connectivity to the vmPFC when an FT product was evaluated. Effective connectivity analyses revealed a highly probable directed modulation of the vmPFC by those three regions, suggesting a network which alters valuation processes. We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates. Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products. The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus