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Physiol Behav. 1990 Mar;47(3):477-81.

Cognitive restraint and sensitivity to cues for hunger and satiety.

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  • 1Psychology Department, University of London, UK.


The present study provides experimental evidence for the effects of cognitive restraint on sensitivity to internal and external cues of hunger. The design involved four experimental conditions. In each condition the subjects were given either a high calorie or a low calorie early morning drink, and either correctly or incorrectly told its calorie content. The subjects, 10 restrained and 10 nonrestrained normal weight women, then rated their subjective hunger and satiety responses and had a test meal. All subjects reported lower sensations of hunger and higher sensations of fullness after the high calorie drink than the low calorie drink, indicating sensitivity to internal cues. However, the restrained eaters' ratings of hunger were also influenced by the believed content of the drink, indicating sensitivity to external cues. The implications of the results are analysed in terms of current theories of restrained eating and their relevance to further research into pathological eating regulation is discussed.

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