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Contact: Morgan Kelly, Princeton Office of Communications
Princeton University

Brain Scans

Caption: Researchers from Princeton University and the Free University of Berlin found that taste-related metaphors such as 'sweet' actually engage the emotional centers of the brain more than literal words such as 'kind' that have the same meaning. Sentences containing words that invoked taste activated areas in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (a) and frontal operculum (b) known as the gustatory cortices that allow for the physical act of tasting. Taste-related metaphors also stimulated brain regions known to be associated with emotional processing, such as the left hippocampus, parahippocampal gyrun and amygdala (c). The colors indicate the level of activation prompted by metaphorical sentences in comparison to literal sentences with 8 signifying the greatest amount of neural activity.

Credit: Image courtesy of Adele Goldberg, Council of the Humanities

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Related news release: Neural sweet talk: Taste metaphors emotionally engage the brain

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