Suzanne Higgs

Suzanne Higgs
University of Birmingham · School of Psychology

PhD

About

282
Publications
50,657
Reads
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6,335
Citations
Education
September 1992 - July 1996
Durham University
Field of study
  • Psychology
October 1989 - June 1992
University of Oxford
Field of study
  • Psychology, Philospohy and Physiology

Publications

Publications (282)
Article
Many higher-weight individuals have internalised societal weight stigma, devaluing themselves because of their weight. Rejecting and challenging societal devaluation is generally associated with superior outcomes compared with stigma internalisation or inaction; however, stigma resistance has not been studied in higher-weight individuals, despite u...
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Full-text available
Background/Objectives Intranasal (IN) administration of insulin decreases appetite in humans, but the underlying mechanisms are unclear, and it is unknown whether IN insulin affects the food intake of women with obesity. Subjects/Methods In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design, participants (35 lean women and 17 women with obesity)...
Article
People eat more when they eat a meal with familiar others than they do when eating alone. However, it is unknown whether eating socially impacts intake over the longer-term. The aim of Study 1 was to examine whether socially facilitated intake is sustained across all meals and across three consecutive days. The aim of Study 2 was to examine whether...
Article
Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder (BED) are prevalent conditions that are associated with increased risk of morbidity and mortality. There is evidence that the use of pharmacotherapy alongside behavioural treatments can improve quality of life and reduce disease risk for patients with these disorders. However, there are few approved drug therapies...
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This study investigated the influence of descriptive norm messages that either communicated that university students eat a sufficient amount of fruit and vegetable (F&V) or that they do not, on F&V consumption, and whether or not any effects are moderated by student identification. An online 2 (Norm: “Sufficient”/“Insufficient”) × 2 (Identification...
Article
The social facilitation of eating refers to people's tendency to eat more food when dining with others than when dining alone. Recent research suggests that social facilitation may be driven by people's tendency to make more food available even before social meals begin, a phenomenon referred to as social “precilitation.” In order to uncover the me...
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When eating with strangers, people tend to eat less than they would when eating alone (social inhibition of eating), whereas they tend to eat more with family and friends (social facilitation of eating). To assess awareness of the social inhibition and facilitation of eating we conducted two online studies (Study 1:N = 481; Study 2:N = 485). In Stu...
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Background People with severe mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than everyone else. Two thirds of these deaths are from preventable physical illnesses such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, which are worsened by weight gain. Antipsychotics are associated with significant weight g...
Article
Objective: Estimates indicate that individuals with coeliac disease are more likely to experience disordered eating and impaired well-being than healthy controls, but less is known about the mechanisms by which these factors are related. The aim of this study was to understand experiences of coeliac disease and influence on subsequent unhelpful ea...
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Background Negative bias in facial emotion recognition is a well-established concept in mental disorders such as depression. However, existing face sets of emotion recognition tests may be of limited use in international research, which could benefit from more contemporary and diverse alternatives. Here, we developed and provide initial validation...
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Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (LDX) is the only drug currently approved by the FDA for the treatment of Binge-Eating Disorder (BED), but little is known about the behavioural mechanisms that underpin the efficacy of LDX in treating BED. We examined the behavioural and neural effects of an acute dose of LDX (50 mg) in 22 women with binge-eating sympto...
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Previous research suggests that exposure to nature may reduce delay discounting (the tendency to discount larger future gains in favor of smaller immediate rewards) and thereby facilitate healthier dietary intake. This pre-registered study examined the impact of online exposure to images of natural scenes on delay discounting and food preferences....
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Full-text available
Binge-Eating Disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the United States. Lisdexamfetamine (LDX) was approved in 2015 by the FDA for treatment of BED and is the only drug approved for treating the disorder. There has been no systematic evaluation of the published clinical and preclinical evidence for efficacy of LDX in treating BED and t...
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Changes in dietary habits of the French population have been reported during the national lockdown that was enforced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This study investigated whether perceived social eating norms were associated with the initiation and maintenance of dietary changes that took place as a result of lockdown. An online study collected inf...
Article
This paper reviews evidence demonstrating a bidirectional relationship between memory and eating in humans and rodents. In humans, amnesia is associated with impaired processing of hunger and satiety cues, disrupted memory of recent meals, and overconsumption. In healthy participants, meal-related memory limits subsequent ingestive behavior and obe...
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Perceptions of social norms around eating behavior can influence food choices. Communicating information about how others are changing their eating behavior over time (dynamic descriptive social norms) may motivate individuals to change their own food selection and consumption. Following a four-week baseline period, 22 in-store restaurants of a maj...
Article
Research has shown that seeing positive facial expressions (FEs) towards food increased children's desire to eat foods rated as disliked. However, the effect of adults' positive FEs whilst eating a raw vegetable on children's acceptance and intake of nutritious foods that are less preferred (e.g., vegetables) remains to be established. This study a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background People with severe mental illnesses (SMI) such as schizophrenia die on average 15 to 20 years earlier than everyone else. Two-thirds of these deaths are from preventable physical illnesses such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, which are worsened by weight gain. Antipsychotics are associated with significant weight g...
Preprint
Previous research suggests that exposure to nature may reduce delay discounting (the tendency to discount larger future gains in favour of smaller immediate rewards) and thereby facilitate healthier dietary choices. This study examined the impact of online exposure to images of natural scenes on delay discounting and food preferences. It was predic...
Article
Full-text available
Background Interoception refers to the processes by which we sense, interpret and integrate signals originating from within the body. Deficits in interoception have been linked to higher BMI and may contribute to weight gain. However, there have been conflicting findings and it is not clear how higher BMI is associated with different facets of inte...
Article
Multi-component food-items are single food products that comprise more than one food class, brought together usually via some form of processing. Importantly, individual components of the food-item remain discernible and sensorially distinguishable from each other (e.g., chocolate chip cookies or 'choc ice'). Despite a sizable research literature o...
Article
There is strong evidence that people eat more when eating with friends and family, relative to when eating alone. This is known as the ‘social facilitation of eating’. In this review, we discuss several gaps in the current scientific understanding of this phenomenon, and in doing so, highlight important areas for future research. In particular, we...
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Full-text available
One of the most powerful influences on food intake yet identified is the presence of familiar others at an eating occasion: people eat much more when they eat with friends/family than when they eat alone. But why this is the case is unclear. Across two studies (Study 1: N = 98; Study 2: N = 120), we found that the mere anticipation of social intera...
Article
Background: Interoception refers to the process of identifying and listening to internal bodily signals, which may be a modifiable determinant of appetite regulation and weight gain. The objective was to examine whether the extent to which self-reported interoception is associated with eating behaviour traits and higher BMI. Methods: UK adults (...
Article
The social context of eating has a profound effect on consumption choices. Social modeling, that involves using others’ behavior as a guide for appropriate consumption, has been well documented for food intake, but less is known about social modeling of food choices. Moreover, social modeling has mainly been studied in laboratory settings. We condu...
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Experimental studies show that inflammation impairs the ability to interpret the mental state of another person, denoted theory of mind (ToM). The current study attempted a conceptual replication in states associated with elevated low-grade inflammation, i.e., high body weight and advanced age. Ninety young (M = 26.3 years, SD = 4.1) or older (M =...
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Aims Using the UK Biobank cohort, a large sample of middle aged and older adults in the UK, the present study aimed to examine the cross-sectional association between type 2 diabetes and cognition and to assess the hypothesised mediating role of common comorbid conditions, whilst controlling for important demographic and lifestyle factors. Methods...
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Background Symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and trait impulsivity have been associated with disordered eating but are seldom assessed in community studies, or longitudinally and little is known about the mediating mechanisms. Methods We tested associations between ADHD symptoms and disordered eating cross-sectionally and...
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Full-text available
Background Short-term laboratory studies suggest that eating attentively can reduce food intake. However, in a recent randomized controlled trial we found no evidence that using an attentive eating smartphone app outside of the laboratory had an effect on energy intake or weight loss over 8 weeks. Objective This research examined trial participant...
Article
Food addiction is associated with elevated levels of eating pathology, body image concerns, and internalized weight stigma. The role of internalized weight stigma in the progression of addictive-like eating has not been explored. This longitudinal study explored the relative contributions of weight-related self-devaluation and fear of being stigmat...
Article
We investigated the neural correlates of working memory guided attentional selection of food versus non-food stimuli in young women. Participants were thirty-two women, aged 20.6y (± 0.5) who were presented with a cue (food or non-food item) to hold in working memory. Subsequently, they had to search for a target in a 2-item display where target an...
Article
Internalized weight stigma (IWS) has been linked with disordered eating behavior, both directly, and as a mediator of the relationship between experienced weight stigma and maladaptive coping. However, the construct of IWS is highly correlated with the related constructs of body image and global self-esteem, and the three constructs may better be r...
Article
Reduced self-control is a strong predictor of overeating and obesity. Priming a high construal level mind-set has been shown to enhance self-control and reduce snack consumption in the lab but the long-term and real-world effects are not known. The use of digital technology is an efficient way to deliver priming cues in real-world settings. Many mo...
Article
Does it matter what we eat for our mental health? Accumulating data suggests that this may indeed be the case and that diet and nutrition are not only critical for human physiology and body composition, but also have significant effects on mood and mental wellbeing. While the determining factors of mental health are complex, increasing evidence ind...
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Inflammation (immune system activation) affects neuronal function and may have consequences for the efficiency and speed of functional brain processes. Indeed, unusually slow psychomotor speed, a measure predictive of behavioural performance and health outcomes, is found with obesity and ageing, two conditions also associated with chronic inflammat...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Short-term laboratory studies suggest that eating attentively can reduce food intake. However, in a recent randomized controlled trial we found no evidence that using an attentive eating smartphone app outside of the laboratory had an effect on energy intake or weight loss over 8 weeks. OBJECTIVE This research examined trial participant...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Eating rate is a basic determinant of appetite regulation: people who eat more slowly feel sated earlier and eat less. A high eating rate contributes to overeating and potentially to weight gain. Previous studies showed that an augmented fork that delivers real-time feedback on eating rate is a potentially effective intervention to dec...
Article
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Background: Changing eating behaviour may be challenging for individuals with obesity and this may be related to attentional bias towards food. Previous paradigms used to assess attentional bias to food stimuli have not distinguished between bottom-up processes related to assessment of rewarding stimuli versus top-down processes related to effects...
Article
Background: Research suggests that people tend to eat more when eating with other people, compared with when they eat alone, and this is known as the social facilitation of eating. However, little is known about when and why this phenomenon occurs. Objectives: This review aimed to quantify the evidence for social facilitation of eating and ident...
Article
Illness is often accompanied by perceived cognitive sluggishness, a symptom that may stem from immune system activation. The current study used electroencephalography (EEG) to assess how inflammation affected three different distinct attentional processes: alerting, orienting and executive control. In a double-blinded placebo-controlled within-subj...
Article
The established link between loneliness and poor health outcomes may stem from aberrant inflammatory regulation. The present study tested whether loneliness predicted the inflammatory response to a standardised in vivo immune challenge. Using a within-subjects double blind placebo-controlled design, 40 healthy men (mean age = 25, SD = 5) received a...
Article
Full-text available
Background Laboratory studies suggest that eating more ‘attentively’ (e.g. attending to food being eaten and recalling eating episodes) can reduce food intake among participants with both healthy weight and overweight. The aim of this trial was to assess whether a smartphone application that encourages a more attentive eating style reduces energy i...
Article
Full-text available
A considerable body of evidence links internalised weight stigma with higher levels of disordered eating behaviour and cognitions in both normative- and higher-weight populations. However, to date, the impact of internalised weight stigma on objectively measured food intake has not been explored. In the present study, a weight-diverse sample of 158...
Article
Full-text available
Background Internalized weight stigma (IWS) is generally operationalized as self-devaluation due to weight in higher-weight individuals. The most commonly used measure of IWS, the Weight Bias Internalization Scale (WBIS), was developed from an original pool of 19 items. Item selection was guided by statistical techniques based upon an a priori hypo...