Training motor responses to food: A novel treatment for obesity targeting implicit processes

Eric Stice, Natalia Lawrence, Eva Kemps, Jan Harm Zwaveling

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    79 Citations (Scopus)


    The present review first summarizes results from prospective brain imaging studies focused on identifying neural vulnerability factors that predict excessive weight gain. Next, findings from cognitive psychology experiments evaluating various interventions involving food response inhibition training or food response facilitation training are reviewed that appear to target these neural vulnerability factors and that have produced encouraging weight loss effects. Findings from both of these reviewed research fields suggest that interventions that reduce reward and attention region responses to high calorie food cues and increase inhibitory region responses to high calorie food cues could prove useful in the treatment of obesity. Based on this review, a new conceptual model is presented to describe how different cognitive training procedures may contribute to modifying eating behavior and important directions for future research are offered. It is concluded that there is a need for evaluating the effectiveness of more intensive food response training interventions and testing whether adding such training to extant weight loss interventions increases their efficacy.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)16-27
    Number of pages12
    JournalClinical Psychology Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


    • Attention
    • Attentional retraining
    • Food
    • Inhibition
    • Neural vulnerability factors
    • Obesity
    • Prospective brain imaging
    • Response training
    • Reward
    • Weight gain
    • Weight-loss treatment


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