Efficacy of a food response and attention training treatment for obesity: A randomized placebo controlled trial

Eric Stice, Sonja Yokum, Jeff Gau, Harm Veling, Natalia Lawrence, Eva Kemps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Elevated brain reward and attention region response, and weaker inhibitory region response to high-calorie foods has predicted future weight gain, suggesting that an intervention that reduces reward and attention region response and increases inhibitory region response to such foods might reduce overeating. We conducted a randomized controlled trial to test whether a multi-faceted food response and attention training protocol with personalized high- and low-calorie food images would reduce body fat and valuation and reward region response to high-calorie foods compared to a placebo control training protocol with non-food images in an effort to replicate findings from two past trials. Participants were community-recruited adults with overweight/obesity (N = 179; M age = 27.7 ± 7.0) who completed assessments at pretest, posttest, 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month follow-ups. Participants randomized to the food response inhibition and attention training showed significantly greater increases in palatability ratings of low-calorie foods than controls (d = 0.27) at posttest, but did not show body fat loss, reductions in palatability ratings and monetary valuation, or reward region response, to high-calorie foods. The lack of expected effects appears to be related to weaker learning compared to the learning in past trials, potentially because we used more heterogenous high-calorie and low-calorie food images in the present training.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104183
Number of pages10
JournalBehaviour Research and Therapy
Early online date29 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • Attention
  • Attention training
  • Fat loss
  • Obesity treatment
  • Response training
  • Reward


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