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Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters



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Columbia Univ Pr
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This is the edition with a publication date of 10/28/2011.

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Gordon M. Shepherd, a leading neuroscientist at Yale University, embarks on an eye-opening trip through the human brain's "flavor system," establishing the parameters of a new field: neurogastronomy. Challenging the belief that humans' sense of smell diminished as they made the leap from primate to human, Shepherd contends this sense, the main element of flavor, is far more powerful and important than we think. Shepherd begins with the mechanics of smell, the way it stimulates the nose as it hits the back of the mouth. From the food we eat, the brain represents smells as spatial patterns, and out of these, it constructs flavor. He then considers the effect of the flavor system on many contemporary social, behavioral, and medical issues. He analyzes flavor's engagement with the brain regions controlling emotion, food preferences, and cravings, and he even devotes a section to food's role in drug addiction and, building on Proust's iconic tale of the madeleine, its ability to evoke deep memories. Shepherd discusses the link between his research and trends in nutrition, dieting, and obesity, particularly the challenge to eat healthy. He concludes with human perceptions of smell and flavor and their insight into the neural basis of consciousness. Everyone from casual diners and amateur foodies to wine critics, chefs, scholars, and researchers will be thrilled by Shepherd's scientific-gastronomic adventures.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction Retronasal Smell and the New Age of Flavorp. 1
Noses and Smells
The Revolution in Smell and Flavorp. 11
Dogs, Humans, and Retronasal Smellp. 19
How the Mouth Fools the Brainp. 28
The Molecules of Flavorp. 33
Making Pictures of Smells
Smell Receptors for Smell Moleculesp. 47
Forming a Sensory Imagep. 59
Images of Smell: An "Aha" Momentp. 66
A Smell Is Like a Facep. 76
Pointillist Images of Smellp. 85
Enhancing the Imagep. 92
Creating, Learning, and Remembering Smellp. 99
Creating Flavor
Smell and Flavorp. 109
Taste and Flavorp. 117
Mouth-Sense and Flavorp. 128
Seeing and Flavorp. 135
Hearing and Flavorp. 143
The Muscles of Flavorp. 147
Putting It Together: The Human Brain Flavor Systemp. 155
Why It Matters
Flavor and Emotionsp. 165
Flavor and Memory: Reinterpreting Proustp. 174
Flavor and Obesityp. 184
Decisions and the Neuroeconomics of Flavor and Nutritionp. 192
Plasticity in the Human Brain Flavor Systemp. 200
Smell, Flavor, and Languagep. 207
Smell, Flavor, and Consciousnessp. 216
Smell and Flavor in Human Evolutionp. 224
Why Flavor Mattersp. 233
Bibliographyp. 243
Indexp. 257
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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