Most neuropsychological research using food as a reward uses single-bid auctions. We wished to determine whether focal brain lesions would affect the ability and motivation to win snack food items in a computerized auction allowing multiple bids. This allowed us to assess participants' abilities under more complex conditions. We enrolled 154 male penetrating traumatic brain injury (pTBI) veterans, mean age 58, from the Vietnam Head Injury Study registry, and 53 male uninjured veterans, mean age 59. We used voxel-based lesion symptom mapping (VLSM) to identify effects of brain lesions on the ability to win items and on participants' answers to statements regarding their level of motivation and evaluation of how well they performed. Number of items won was not significantly associated with any lesions; however, lesions in gustatory cortex (GC) affected motivation and self-evaluation. Our findings provide further evidence of the primary GC's role in motivation for food and drink.
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