It would appear that pleasure can be mapped.
According to Plassmann el al., “…a basic assumption in economics is that experienced pleasantness from consuming a good depends only on its intrinsic properties and on the state of the individual” .
By contrast, it is known by so-called marketers that experienced pleasantness can be influenced by “…changing properties of Commodities, such as prices, that are unrelated to their intrinsic qualities or to the consumer’s state.”
To further elucidate these discrepancies, Plassmann and colleagues proceeded to investigate the neural associations of experienced pleasantness, by assessing both the subjectively reported perceived pleasure and the modulated blood-oxygen-level-dependent signal in the medial orbitofrontal cortex of the brain, an area of the brain in which activity is associated with the perception of experienced pleasantness.
Subjects randomly tasted three different wines in a series of six tastings, during which the price of each wine was varied. Not only did the price of the wine influence the subjectively reported experienced pleasantness, but also the activity in several areas of the brain associated with behavioral ratings for taste, odors and music. There were no changes in activity in the areas associated with primary taste
. These finding support the concept that experienced pleasantness is computed by the brain in a hierarchical manner that incorporates both actual sensory properties as well as expectations.
Stephen B Hanauer 2008 Experienced pleasantness. Nature Gastroenterology and hepatology vol 5,pp 119
- Martin Eastwood