PALO ALTO (CBS SF) — Stanford University researchers are looking for volunteers to participate in their experiment—by drinking chocolate milkshakes.

Children between the ages of 4 and 8 are needed for a study on how the brain responds to milkshakes to better understand how individual differences in anticipating and tasting pleasurable foods influence risks of becoming overweight or obese, researchers with Stanford’s School of Medicine said.

The anticipation of a food can be more pleasurable than eating the food itself for adults with obesity, leading them to overeat, the researchers said.

But to determine whether that discrepancy is the result of years of overeating or if it is present earlier in life, the researchers want to study children.

Participating children will have their brains scanned by an MRI while looking at a picture of a chocolate milkshake, then will receive a few drops of the milkshake in their mouths through a pacifier-like device, researchers said.

The brain scan will indicate how the children respond to each stimulus.

Both boys and girls are welcome for the study, which will require them to lie still while in the MRI and make two visits to the Stanford campus. Their parents will have to fill out a survey about the child’s eating habits and weight patterns.

The children cannot have any metal implants in their bodies and their parents must speak English.

Participating children will receive $100.

Anyone wishing to participate can contact Talya Feldman at or (650) 723-7885.

© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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