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J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 2011 Sep;42(3):384-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.02.008. Epub 2011 Feb 24.

Overcoming the urge to splurge: influencing eating behavior by manipulating inhibitory control.

Author information

1
Clinical Psychological Science, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. K.Houben@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES:

When inhibitory control is lacking, people are more prone to indulge in high calorie food. This research examined whether increasing or decreasing inhibitory control influences food intake in opposite directions.

METHODS:

In this study, baseline inhibitory control ability was measured with the Stop Signal Task. Next, participants performed a modified Stop Signal Task with three within-subjects conditions: One type of high calorie food was always paired with a stop signal (inhibition manipulation), while another type of high calorie food was never presented with a stop signal (impulsivity manipulation). In the control condition, high calorie food was presented with a stop signal on half the trials. Following the manipulation, intake of the three food products that were used in the manipulation was measured during a taste test.

RESULTS:

Participants with low inhibitory control abilities consumed more of the control food compared to participants with high inhibitory control abilities. However, the inhibition manipulation decreased food consumption in participants with low levels of inhibitory control to the same level of food intake as that of participants with high levels of inhibitory control. Conversely, the impulsivity manipulation increased food intake in participants with high levels of inhibitory control to the level of consumption of participants with low levels of inhibitory control.

CONCLUSIONS:

These findings demonstrate the causal role of inhibition in eating behavior and suggest that strengthening inhibitory control can help people regain control over the consumption of high calorie food.

PMID:
21450264
DOI:
10.1016/j.jbtep.2011.02.008
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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