In a new research, researchers have found that that people of normal weight tend to associate natural foods such as apples with their sensory characteristics.
On the other hand, processed foods such as pizzas are generally associated with their function or the context in which they are eaten.
Raffaella Rumiati, neuroscientist at the International School for Advanced Studies, said, "It can be considered an instance of 'embodiment' in which our brain interacts with our body."
With two behavioural and electroencephalographic experiments, the study demonstrated that people of normal weight tend to associate natural foods such as apples with their sensory characteristics such as sweetness or softness.
On the other hand, processed foods such as pizzas are generally associated with their function or the context in which they are eaten such as parties or picnics.
Giulio Pergola, the work's primary author, shared, "The results are in line with the theory according to which sensory characteristics and the functions of items are processed differently by the brain. They represent an important step forward in our understanding of the mechanisms at the basis of the assessments we make of food."
The research also highlighted the ways in which underweight people pay greater attention to natural foods and overweight people to processed foods.
Even when subjected to the same stimuli, these two groups show different electroencephalography signals. These results show once again the importance of cognitive neuroscience also in the understanding of extremely topical clinical fields such as dietary disorders.
The study was published in the journal Biological Psychology.