Food-associated response inhibition training to reduce snacking behaviour
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
To enable publication of the research elsewhere
Inhibition is a facet of executive control that can be an area of weakness, in particular in people who overeat. However, laboratory studies suggest that interventions that target disinhibited eating can strengthen response inhibition and ultimately reduce overeating. The current study investigated whether response inhibition could be trained to help reduce food consumption. Eighty four adults who were self-reported disinhibited eaters and predominantly overweight or obese completed five response-inhibition training sessions in a two-week food training study. Participants were randomly allocated to a go/no-go task condition (control versus active) that mapped either non-food stimuli (control) or high-calorie foods (active) on to no-go signals. Participants’ weight, calorie intake, daily snacking and food evaluations were measured at baseline and post-intervention. Results indicate that participants in the active condition showed significant weight-loss post-intervention [F (1, 38) = 5.625, p < .023, ηp2 = .129] as well as a reduction in overall calorie intake [F (1, 39) = 7.951, p < .008, ηp2 = .169] compared with the control group [F (1, 38) = 0.142, p = .709]. However, there was no change over time [F (1, 79) = 2.280, p = .135] or group differences [F (1, 79) = .144, p = .706] in self-reported daily snacking frequency post–intervention. The active group showed a reduction in ratings of liking of unhealthy (no-go) foods from pre- to post-intervention [t (38) = -1.974, p = .056] compared with the control group [t (40) = 1.040, p = .305]. At one-month follow-up, both groups reported significant weight loss [F (1, 64) = 40.679, p < .001, ηp2 = .389] as well as a reduction in monthly snacking frequency [F (1, 69) = 14.018, p < .001, ηp2 = .169]. The results provide supporting evidence that training response inhibition may be an effective technique to help disinhibited eaters become more self-controlled and ultimately reduce their weight.
Doctor of Clinical Psychology