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Original Research ARTICLE

Front. Psychol., 13 March 2014 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00216

Food-cue affected motor response inhibition and self-reported dieting success: a pictorial affective shifting task

  • 1Department of Psychology I, Institute of Psychology, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany
  • 2Research Group Self-regulation and Health, Research Unit INSIDE, Université du Luxembourg, Walferdange, Luxembourg
  • 3Research Group on Health Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Behavioral inhibition is one of the basic facets of executive functioning and is closely related to self-regulation. Impulsive reactions, that is low inhibitory control, have been associated with higher body mass index (BMI), binge eating, and other problem behaviors (e.g., substance abuse, pathological gambling, etc.). Nevertheless, studies which investigated the direct influence of food-cues on behavioral inhibition have been fairly inconsistent. In the current studies, we investigated food-cue affected behavioral inhibition in young women. For this purpose, we used a go/no-go task with pictorial food and neutral stimuli in which stimulus-response mapping is reversed after every other block (affective shifting task). In study 1, hungry participants showed faster reaction times to and omitted fewer food than neutral targets. Low dieting success and higher BMI were associated with behavioral disinhibition in food relative to neutral blocks. In study 2, both hungry and satiated individuals were investigated. Satiation did not influence overall task performance, but modulated associations of task performance with dieting success and self-reported impulsivity. When satiated, increased food craving during the task was associated with low dieting success, possibly indicating a preload-disinhibition effect following food intake. Food-cues elicited automatic action and approach tendencies regardless of dieting success, self-reported impulsivity, or current hunger levels. Yet, associations between dieting success, impulsivity, and behavioral food-cue responses were modulated by hunger and satiation. Future research investigating clinical samples and including other salient non-food stimuli as control category is warranted.

Keywords: food-cues, impulsivity, inhibitory control, response inhibition, go/no-go task, dieting success, body mass index

Citation: Meule A, Lutz APC, Krawietz V, Stützer J, Vögele C and Kübler A (2014) Food-cue affected motor response inhibition and self-reported dieting success: a pictorial affective shifting task. Front. Psychol. 5:216. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00216

Received: 16 April 2013; Accepted: 25 February 2014;
Published online: 13 March 2014.

Edited by:

Guido Matthijs Van Koningsbruggen, VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands

Reviewed by:

Jessica Werthmann, Maastricht University, Netherlands
Peter J. De Jong, University of Groningen, Netherlands

Copyright © 2014 Meule, Lutz, Krawietz, Stützer, Vögele and Kübler. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Adrian Meule, Department of Psychology I, Institute of Psychology, University of Würzburg, Marcusstr. 9-11, 97070 Würzburg, Germany e-mail: adrian.meule@uni-wuerzburg.de