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Attention bias for food is independent of restraint in healthy weight individuals—An eye tracking study

Authors
Journal
Eating Behaviors
1471-0153
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
14
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.eatbeh.2013.06.005
Keywords
  • Attention
  • Cognitive Bias
  • Eye Movements
  • Food Cues
  • Dietary Restraint
  • Bmi

Abstract

Abstract Objective Restrained eating style and weight status are highly correlated. Though both have been associated with an attentional bias for food cues, in prior research restraint and BMI were often confounded. The aim of the present study was to determine the existence and nature of an attention bias for food cues in healthy-weight female restrained and unrestrained eaters, when matching the two groups on BMI. Method Attention biases for food cues were measured by recordings of eye movements during a visual probe task with pictorial food versus non-food stimuli. Healthy weight high restrained (n=24) and low restrained eaters (n=21) were matched on BMI in an attempt to unconfound the effects of restraint and weight on attention allocation patterns. Results All participants showed elevated attention biases for food stimuli in comparison to neutral stimuli, independent of restraint status. Discussion These findings suggest that attention biases for food-related cues are common for healthy weight women and show that restrained eating (per se) is not related to biased processing of food stimuli, at least not in healthy weight participants.

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