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Appetite. 2013 Apr;63:7-17. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.11.025. Epub 2012 Dec 5.

Restrictive feeding practices and adiposity are differentially related to P3b cortical responses to food stimuli in children.

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School of Psychology & Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, Earley Gate, Reading RG6 6AL, UK.


Across two studies, we examined the association between adiposity, restrictive feeding practices and cortical processing bias to food stimuli in children. We assessed P3b event-related potential (ERP) during visual oddball tasks in which the frequently presented stimulus was non-food and the infrequently presented stimulus was either a food (Study 1) or non-food (Study 2) item. Children responded to the infrequently presented stimulus and accuracy and speed responses were collected. Restrictive feeding practices, children's height and weight were also measured. In Study 1, the difference in P3b amplitude for infrequently presented food stimuli, relative to frequently presented non-food stimuli, was negatively associated with adiposity and positively associated with restrictive feeding practices after controlling for adiposity. There was no association between P3b amplitude difference and adiposity or restriction in Study 2, suggesting that the effects seen in Study 1 were not due to general attentional processes. Taken together, our results suggest that attentional salience, as indexed by the P3b amplitude, may be important for understanding the neural correlates of adiposity and restrictive feeding practices in children.

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