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Automatic and nonautomatic processes in dietary restraint: further evidence for a commonality between food and drug abstinence
journal contributionposted on 22.01.2016, 12:11 authored by Jeffrey M. Brunstrom, Gemma WitcombGemma Witcomb
The deleterious effect of dietary restraint on cognitive performance is now well established. However, recent evidence suggests that this impairment shares characteristics with those found in abstinent drug users. In this study, high (n = 21) and low-to-medium restrained eaters (n = 41) completed a reaction-time task, once while imagining their favourite food and once while imagining their Favourite holiday. Afterwards, these participants ate lunch and then completed a second set of reaction-time measures. Both before and after lunch, ratings of the vividness of the scenarios were similar across groups. Likewise, the groups produced similar ratings of hunger, thirst, and desire to eat. However, as predicted, performance was significantly impaired in restrained eaters, but only while imagining food, and only before lunch. No impairments were observed in the low-to-medium restrained group. This finding provides further evidence that Tiffany’s [Psychol. Rev. 97 (1990) 147] model of drug-related urges can be generalised to dietary restraint. The merits of conceptualising dietary restraint in terms of automatic and nonautomatic processes are discussed, together with suggestions for future research.
- Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences