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Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2009 Dec;17(6):425-33. doi: 10.1037/a0017796.

Attentional bias for craving-related (chocolate) food cues.

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School of Psychology, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia 5001, Australia.


In this study, we investigated attentional biases for craving-related food cues. A pictorial dot probe task was used to assess selective attentional processing of one particular highly desired food, namely chocolate, relative to that of other highly desired foods. In Experiment 1, we examined biased processing of chocolate cues in habitual (trait) chocolate cravers, whereas in Experiment 2 we investigated the effect of experimentally induced (state) chocolate cravings on such processing. As predicted, habitual chocolate cravers (Experiment 1) and individuals in whom a craving for chocolate was temporarily induced (Experiment 2) showed speeded detection of probes replacing chocolate-related pictures, demonstrating an attentional bias for chocolate cues. Subsequent examination indicated that in both experiments the observed attentional biases stemmed from difficulty in disengaging attention from chocolate cues rather than from a shift of attention toward such cues. The findings have important theoretical and practical implications.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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