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Psychosom Med. 1996 Mar-Apr;58(2):160-4.

Differences in salivation to repeated food cues in obese and nonobese women.

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  • 1Behavioral Medicine Research Laboratory, Department of Psychology, University at Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.


In a series of studies we have shown that salivation, a cephalic phase preingestive response, habituates to repeated presentations of olfactory or gustatory cues in nonobese subjects. Previous research has studied the differences in anticipatory response to food cues in obese vs. nonobese subjects. This study was designed to assess if obese and nonobese females differed in their patterns of salivary response to repeated presentation of palatable food cues. The salivary response to 10 gustatory presentations of lemon yogurt was studied in 10 obese and 10 nonobese nonrestrained women. Results showed significant differences in the pattern of salivary responding, with obese subjects showing a significantly slower decline in salivation than nonobese subjects. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that obese women differ from nonobese women in their pattern of response to repeated food cues. The results are discussed in relationship to models of intake that focus on differences in satiety or differences in the reinforcing value of food between obese and nonobese subjects.

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