Hunger modulates behavioral disinhibition and attention allocation to food-associated cues in normal-weight controls.

Abstract

Overeating, weight gain and obesity are considered as a major health problem in Western societies. At present, an impairment of response inhibition and a biased salience attribution to food-associated stimuli are considered as important factors associated with weight gain. However, recent findings suggest that the association between an impaired response inhibition and salience attribution and weight gain might be modulated by other factors. Thus, hunger might cause food-associated cues to be perceived as more salient and rewarding and might be associated with an impairment of response inhibition. However, at present, little is known how hunger interacts with these processes. Thus, the aim of the present study was to investigate whether hunger modulates response inhibition and attention allocation towards food-associated stimuli in normal-weight controls. A go-/nogo task with food-associated and control words and a visual dot-probe task with food-associated and control pictures were administered to 48 normal-weight participants (mean age 24.5 years, range 19-40; mean BMI 21.6, range 18.5-25.4). Hunger was assessed twofold using a self-reported measure of hunger and a measurement of the blood glucose level. Our results indicated that self-reported hunger affected behavioral response inhibition in the go-/nogo task. Thus, hungry participants committed significantly more commission errors when food-associated stimuli served as distractors compared to when control stimuli were the distractors. This effect was not observed in sated participants. In addition, we found that self-reported hunger was associated with a lower number of omission errors in response to food-associated stimuli indicating a higher salience of these stimuli. Low blood glucose level was not associated with an impairment of response inhibition. However, our results indicated that the blood glucose level was associated with an attentional bias towards food-associated cues in the visual dot probe task. In conclusion our results suggest that hunger induces an approach bias and is associated with an impairment of response inhibition when normal-weight participants are confronted with food-associated cues. These findings are important as these processes play a crucial role with regard to the control of food-intake and weight gain and are assumed to contribute to obesity. Thus, individualized treatment approaches taking into account the experience of hunger in everyday-life situations should be considered in addition to a training of response inhibition.

DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.008
0100200201520162017
Citations per Year

210 Citations

Semantic Scholar estimates that this publication has 210 citations based on the available data.

See our FAQ for additional information.

Cite this paper

@article{Loeber2013HungerMB, title={Hunger modulates behavioral disinhibition and attention allocation to food-associated cues in normal-weight controls.}, author={Sabine Loeber and Martin Grosshans and Stephan Herpertz and Falk Kiefer and Sabine C. Herpertz}, journal={Appetite}, year={2013}, volume={71}, pages={32-9} }