Binge Eating pp 121-135 | Cite as

Neuroimaging to Study Brain Reward Processing and Reward-Based Learning in Binge Eating Pathology

  • Marisa DeGuzmanEmail author
  • Guido K. W. Frank


This chapter reviews human neuroimaging studies that investigate the neurobiology of reward processing in eating disorders associated with binge eating. Across the relatively small research literature on binge-eating disorder (BED) and bulimia nervosa (BN) using food and nonfood stimuli, neuroimaging studies consistently suggest alterations in brain reward circuit response. Studies tend to identify heightened brain response to visual presentation of reward cues, while reward receipt, including unexpected receipt, is associated with lower brain activation. Those results point toward specific neurotransmitter alterations associated with binge eating pathophysiology. However, there is still extensive heterogeneity across studies due to different study designs and analytic approaches, and research that systematically translates and studies basic science models in humans will have the best chance of identifying neurocircuitry that is specific to this pathology.


Reward processing Reward-based learning Neuroimaging 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of the Incarnate WordSan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of California San DiegoSan DiegoUSA

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