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Appetite. 2005 Dec;45(3):305-13. Epub 2005 Aug 19.

The phenomenology of food cravings: the role of mental imagery.

Author information

1
School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide 5001, Australia. marika.tiggemann@flinders.edu.au

Abstract

The study aimed to investigate the role of mental imagery in the experience of food cravings. A sample of 130 undergraduate students was first asked to recall and rate a previous food craving experience. Second, they were asked to imagine themselves eating their favourite food and to rate the involvement of different sensory modalities. It was found that mental imagery was a key element in both the retrospective craving experience and the current food induction. In particular, craving intensity was related to the vividness of the food image (r = .46). The specific sensory modalities most involved were visual (39.7%) and gustatory (30.6%), followed by olfactory (15.8%). There was little involvement of auditory or tactile modalities. It was concluded that cognitive experimental techniques aimed at reducing the vividness of visual, gustatory or olfactory imagery, might usefully be deployed to reduce unwanted food cravings.

PMID:
16112776
DOI:
10.1016/j.appet.2005.06.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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