Research Assistant: Perceptual Mechanisms of Appetite RegulationSemester Course

Research Assistant: Perceptual Mechanisms of Appetite Regulation
Major Discipline(s)
Neuroscience, Psychology
Elective Course
Fall semester

Although human food consumption habits pose a significant threat to global health and ecological sustainability, large-scale changes of eating patterns are slow to take effect. While the intrinsic reward value of taste is often blamed for dietary preferences, there is, to date, a fundamental lack of knowledge about the perceptual and emotional mechanisms that link these rewards to the preference for very specific liked and disliked food items, which consists of a combination of different perceptual properties such as taste, aroma, and texture.

This project will experimentally manipulate odor-taste associations to investigate how the human brain acquires preferences for specific flavors, and how the successful retrieval of these preferences might be affected by the context in which exposure takes place. It is ideally suited for a student who has already taken introductory courses in experimental psychology and/or cognitive neuroscience, and would like to apply this knowledge to collect, analyze, and interpret their own data.

Specifically, you will learn to design a study and acquire and analyze psychophysical data that involve perceptual stimulation via nose and/or mouth. You will learn how to prepare food stimulus material in a controlled manner, and to present them to your subjects using our state-of-the-art smell and taste perception laboratory equipment. You will also have the opportunity to experience collection of MRI-data.

Research Assistantship Hours: You will spend 180 hours directly engaged in research, together with 20 hours in co-curricular activities, during your RAship.   


Select Research Publications

  • Seubert, J., Fondberg, R., Lundström, J. N. (2021). Odor-Taste Interactions in Food Perception: Exposure Protocol Shows No Effects of Associative Learning. Chemical Senses, 46, bjab003.
  • Seubert, J., Lundström, J. N., Regenbogen, C., Ohla, K. (2019). Prefrontal Control Over Occipital Responses to Crossmodal Overlap Varies Across the Congruency Spectrum. Cerebral cortex (New York, N.Y. : 1991), 29(7), 3023–3033.


Janina Seubert

DIS Stockholm Semester Faculty

PhD, clinical neuroscience (RWTH Aachen University in Germany) and MSc, Neuro-cognitive Psychology (LMU Munich). Dr. Seubert is a cognitive neuroscientist with a background in functional neuroimaging of perception and emotion in healthy populations and patients with psychiatric illness in the Psychology Division at Karolinska Institute (KI). Before joining KI in 2014, she worked at the Monell Chemical Senses Center and the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, USA, where she began to study cortical integration of smell and taste during food perception. In her current role in the Clinical Neuroscience Department at KI, Janina leads a research team within the Perceptual Neuroscience Lab that conducts experimental work on food perception. In addition, she collaborates with the Aging Research Center where she investigates the role of olfactory decline on health in the elderly using longitudinal population data, and the Center for Eating Disorder Innovation where she studies the processing of olfactory reward in anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorder. With DIS Since 2021.