Article

Effects of temptations on the affective salience of weight control goals

Department of Psychology, Boston University, 648 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02215, USA.
Behaviour Research and Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.85). 04/2007; 45(3):449-58. DOI: 10.1016/j.brat.2006.03.018
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the value of weight control goals, the maintenance of healthy eating habits represents a challenge for most. Self-regulatory efforts are often challenged by the presence of high-risk cues (e.g., tempting foods) which provide short-term positive outcomes at the expense of these long-term health objectives. The current study examined contextual influences on self-regulation failure by exploring the effect of cues on an indirect measure of goal value. Two experiments were conducted with undergraduate students which examined the effect of temptation cues on the evaluation of information related to the goal of weight control. Results of Study 1 provided preliminary evidence for the utility of this task as an indirect measure of goal value and showed that food-related primes slowed evaluation response times for weight control-related targets. Study 2 replicated and extended these findings by demonstrating that temptation cues may not only decrease the affective salience of weight control related information but increase the salience of information related to the goal of affect enhancement. These results suggest that self-regulation failure may be influenced by contextual changes in the value of health-related goals. Implications for prevention and intervention efforts are discussed.

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    • "Roefs and colleagues found that priming obese and non-obese participants with healthy foods prior to an evaluative task resulted in automatic preferences for low-fat foods, whereas priming with palatable food resulted in automatic preferences for high-fat food regardless of participants' weight. Palfai and MacDonald (2007) examined how temptation cues infl uenced the evaluation of weight-controlrelated words. They asked participants previously primed with either tempting food words or control words to judge as quickly as possible whether the target words presented (weight-controlrelated words and enjoyment words) were positive or negative. "
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    ABSTRACT: The present research explored the effects of pre-exposure to temptation primes and dieting primes on food intake, goal accessibility and explicit automatic evaluations of food-enjoyment and dieting goals among restrained and unrestrained eaters. Participants (n= 166) were randomly assigned to three conditions: food-cue, dieting, or control, in which they were exposed to incidental presentation of gourmet, fashion or geographic magazines, respectively. Words related to the goals of dieting and/or food- enjoyment were presented in a computer decision task following the incidental presentation of gourmet, dieting, and geographic magazine photographs. The computer task and the presentation of food were counterbalanced. Participants' food intake was assessed in a taste-rating task. Restrained eaters ate more than did unrestrained eaters across the three conditions. Restrained eaters who were exposed to food cues ate more than did restrained eaters in the control condition and they evaluated the goal of dieting more negatively compared to restrained eaters in the other two conditions. These findings were inconsistent with 'Counteractive Self-Control Theory' but consistent with previous studies on the effects of food-cue exposure in restrained eaters.
    Psicothema 11/2011; 23(4):587-92. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    • "Roefs and colleagues found that priming obese and non-obese participants with healthy foods prior to an evaluative task resulted in automatic preferences for low-fat foods, whereas priming with palatable food resulted in automatic preferences for high-fat food regardless of participants' weight. Palfai and MacDonald (2007) examined how temptation cues infl uenced the evaluation of weight-controlrelated words. They asked participants previously primed with either tempting food words or control words to judge as quickly as possible whether the target words presented (weight-controlrelated words and enjoyment words) were positive or negative. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The present research explored the effects of pre-exposure to temptation primes and dieting primes on food intake, goal accessibility and explicit automatic evaluations of food-enjoyment and dieting goals among restrained and unrestrained eaters. Participants (n= 166) were randomly assigned to three conditions: food-cue, dieting, or control, in which they were exposed to incidental presentation of gourmet, fashion or geographic magazines, respectively. Words related to the goals of dieting and/or food- enjoyment were presented in a computer decision task following the incidental presentation of gourmet, dieting, and geographic magazine photographs. The computer task and the presentation of food were counterbalanced. Participants’ food intake was assessed in a taste-rating task. Restrained eaters ate more than did unrestrained eaters across the three conditions. Restrained eaters who were exposed to food cues ate more than did restrained eaters in the control condition and they evaluated the goal of dieting more negatively compared to restrained eaters in the other two conditions. These fi ndings were inconsistent with ‘Counteractive Self-Control Theory’ but consistent with previous studies on the effects of food-cue exposure in restrained eaters.
    Psicothema 06/2011; 23(4):587-592. · 0.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Relapsing to overeating is a stubborn problem in obesity treatment. We tested the hypothesis that context cues surrounding palatable food (PF) intake have the power to disrupt caloric regulation even of less PF. Context cues are non-food cues that are in the environment where PF is habitually eaten. Rats were conditioned to associate intake of Oreo cookies as the PF to cages with distinct context cues that differed from cues in cages where they were only given chow. PF naturally stimulated greater caloric intake. The rats were then tested in the PF cage with only chow available to determine whether the PF-paired cues, alone, could elicit overeating of plain chow. Non-food-deprived female Sprague-Dawley rats. Intake of plain chow under PF-paired cues vs chow-paired cues was compared. This was also measured in tests that included a morsel of PF as a priming stimulus. We also controlled for any effect of binge-prone vs binge-resistant status to predict cued-overeating. Rats consumed significantly more chow when exposed to context cues paired earlier with PF than with chow (P<0.01). This effect occurred using various cues (for example, different types of bedding or wallpaper). The effect was strengthened by priming with a morsel of PF (P<0.001) and was unaffected by baseline differences in propensity to binge on PF. Context-cues associated with PF intake can drive overeating even of a less PF and abolish the ability of rats to compensate for the calories of a PF primer. Just as drug-associated context cues can reinstate drug-addiction relapse, PF-paired cues may trigger overeating relapses linked to weight regain and obesity. This model should help identify the reflex-like biology that sabotages attempts to adhere to healthy reduced calorie regimens and call greater attention to the cue-factor in the treatment of binge eating and obesity.
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