Contextual cue exposure effects on food intake in restrained eaters

Eva Kemps, C. Herman, Sarah Hollitt, Janet Polivy, Ivanka Prichard, Marika Tiggemann

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    8 Citations (Scopus)


    Food cue exposure has been shown to trigger overeating in restrained eaters. To explore the difficulties experienced by these individuals in regulating their food intake, recent investigations have sought to determine the impact of exposure to a low calorie food cue, but with mixed success. This study tested the possibility that contextual differences moderate the impact of exposure to such a food cue among restrained eaters. To this end, we compared the effect of exposure to a low calorie food cue either on its own or together with a high calorie food cue. Specifically, we exposed 122 undergraduate women to a low calorie food cue (pictures of grapes), or to a high calorie food cue (pictures of cookies), or both, and examined the effect of such food-cue exposure on intake of either grapes or cookies. Restrained eaters were identified by their scores on the Revised Restraint Scale (Herman & Polivy, 1980). In line with predictions regarding dieting goal activation, restrained eaters ate less of the given food, either grapes or cookies, following exposure to the grapes cue alone than after exposure to the grapes + cookies cue. Thus the context in which a low calorie food cue is presented (alone, or in combination with a high calorie food cue) may play an important role in how much restrained eaters eat. The findings have implications for the regulation of food intake in restrained eaters.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)71-75
    Number of pages5
    JournalPhysiology & Behavior
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


    • Contextual cues
    • Craving
    • Dietary restraint
    • Food intake
    • Food-cue exposure


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