2006 Conference on Neuroesthetics

Flavors of Experience

Billions of dollars are spent annually, by both consumers and producers, on fine food, wines and perfumes. A good dinner is a pleasure that may be long remembered, while smell and taste can bring back long forgotten memories stretching back to childhood, as was immortalized by Marcel Proust's description.

Why is this? What brain pathways do these products activate? How are these engaged areas of the brain connected with the memory system? Are there pleasure centers in the brain that are specifically devoted to taste and smell? What criteria do chefs, wine makers, and parfumers – as artists – use to judge that their products will have appeal? These questions were addressed in the 2006 Conference on Neuroesthetics.



Dana M. Small, Assistant Fellow of the John B Pierce Laboratory, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Surgery, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Randall Grahm, Viticulturist and founder of Bonny Doon Vineyards, Santa Cruz, California

Read Montague, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas

Jay A. Gottfried, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Psychology, Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer's Disease Center, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois

Daniel Patterson, Restaurateur and Chef, San Francisco, California

Scott Herness, Professor of Oral Biology, College of Dentistry, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

Ed Espe Brown, Zen priest, cook, and author, San Francisco Zen Center, California

Ivanka Savic Berglund, Associate professor and senior consultant neurologist, Centre of Gender Related Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden