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Despite the essential role of food in our lives, we have little understanding of the way our knowledge about food is organized in the brain. At birth, human infants exhibit very few food preferences, and do not yet know much about what is edible and what is not. A multisensory learning development will eventually turn young infants into omnivore adults, for whom deciding what to eat becomes an effortful task. Recognizing food constitutes an essential step in this decisional process. In this paper we examine how concepts about food are represented in the human brain. More specifically, we first analyze how brain-damaged patients recognize natural and manufactured food, and then examine these patterns in the light of the sensory-functional hypothesis and the domain-specific hypothesis. Secondly, we discuss how concepts of food are represented depending on whether we embrace the embodied view or the disembodied view. We conclude that research on food recognition and on the organization of knowledge about food must also take into account some aspects specific to food category, the relevance of which has not been sufficiently recognized and investigated to date.

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Journal Article

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