Is it possible to dissociate ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’ for foods in humans? A novel experimental procedure
Berridge's model (e.g. [Berridge KC. Food reward: Brain substrates of wanting and liking. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 1996;20:1-25.; Berridge KC, Robinson T E. Parsing reward. Trends Neurosci 2003;26:507-513.; Berridge KC. Motivation concepts in behavioral neuroscience. Physiol Behav 2004;81:179-209]) outlines the brain substrates thought to mediate food reward with distinct 'liking' (hedonic/affective) and 'wanting' (incentive salience/motivation) components. Understanding the dual aspects of food reward could throw light on food choice, appetite control and overconsumption. The present study reports the development of a procedure to measure these processes in humans. A computer-based paradigm was used to assess 'liking' (through pleasantness ratings) and 'wanting' (through forced-choice photographic procedure) for foods that varied in fat (high or low) and taste (savoury or sweet). 60 participants completed the program when hungry and after an ad libitum meal. Findings indicate a state (hungry-satiated)-dependent, partial dissociation between 'liking' and 'wanting' for generic food categories. In the hungry state, participants 'wanted' high-fat savoury>low-fat savoury with no corresponding difference in 'liking', and 'liked' high-fat sweet>low-fat sweet but did not differ in 'wanting' for these foods. In the satiated state, participants 'liked', but did not 'want', high-fat savoury>low-fat savoury, and 'wanted' but did not 'like' low-fat sweet>high-fat sweet. More differences in 'liking' and 'wanting' were observed when hungry than when satiated. This procedure provides the first step in proof of concept that 'liking' and 'wanting' can be dissociated in humans and can be further developed for foods varying along different dimensions. Other experimental procedures may also be devised to separate 'liking' and 'wanting'.
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