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Enjoyment of Watching Pimple Popping Videos: An fMRI Investigation

Pimples take center stage in the brain, in this new study:

Enjoyment of Watching Pimple Popping Videos: An fMRI Investigation,” Albert Wabnegger, Carina Höfler, Thomas Zussner, Harald H Freudenthaler, Anne Schienle, Behavioural Brain Research, vol. 402, March 26, 2021, 113129.  The authors, at the University of Graz, Austria, explain:

We administered a total of 96 video clips from three categories: Pimple Popping (PP), Water Fountains (WF), and Steam Cleaning (SC). The PP videos showed a pimple or blackhead that was opened to squeeze out the pus or sebum. The female participants (mean age: 24 years) were assigned to one of two groups: females who reported to enjoy watching PP (PPE_high; n = 38) and those with little enjoyment (PPE_low; n = 42). We analyzed brain activity in regions of interest (ROI) involved in the encoding of pleasure and aversion (e.g., nucleus accumbens (NAc),

Conclusions — A specific pattern of brain activity and connectivity that involves the NAc and insula (coding of aversion/pleasure) and the frontopolar region (prediction of outcomes of motor decisions) is associated with the enjoyment of PP videos.

(Thanks to Frédéric Flamant for bringing this to our attention.)

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