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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