Do you really want another slice? Overeaters' implicit and explicit food preferences

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Senior Projects Spring 2013

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Ovadia, Laura Amy
Bard Digital Commons
overeat; implicit; explicit; food preferences; sensitivity to reward; impulsivity; Health Psychology; Psychology; Social Psychology
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AbstractEvidence suggests that exposure to palatable foods leads to overeating, which is linked to weight gain, obesity and serious health risks. Previous studies have examined differences in implicit and explicit food preferences among normal weight and obese individuals. No experiments to date, however, have examined overeaters, defined here as people who eat excessive amounts of food but who do not experience a loss of control as seen in people with Binge Eating Disorder (BED). This research proposes an empirical study for explaining the associations between overeating, impulsivity and reward sensitivity, and the impact of overeating on people’s implicit and explicit attitudes toward healthy and unhealthy foods. The literature shows that people who overeat are more likely to be impulsive and sensitive to reward. As such, it was hypothesized that people who are more impulsive and sensitive to reward and who live in a food-abundant environment would be more likely to overeat unhealthy foods, which are higher in palatability and stimulate the appetite more than healthy foods. Furthermore, it was proposed that overconsumption of unhealthy foods would be related to overeaters’ implicit and explicit food preferences: I predict that while people who overeat would explicitly prefer unhealthy food more, they would implicitly prefer healthy food more compared to people who do not overeat. These results would illustrate ways in which impulsivity and sensitivity to reward contribute to overeating and shed light on the importance of implicit processes in food behaviors.Keywords: overeating, eating behavior, impulsivity, sensitivity to reward, implicit preferences