May 7, 2005

Cue-elicited craving for food: a fresh approach to the study of binge eating

Laura SobikLinda Craighead


Recent research has indicated that craving for food can be elicited by exposure to food cues, suggesting that exposure to food cues may represent a useful experimental paradigm to investigate mechanisms related to binge eating. The first objective of the present research was to replicate previous reports that exposure to food cues elicits craving for food. In addition, this investigation was designed to extend the extant literature by testing the effects of 'priming' portions of food, by examining the association between reactivity to food cues and indicators of binge eating, and to examine the role of a putative genetic factor previously found to be associated with cue-elicited craving for alcohol and tobacco. In Study 1, 48 individuals completed measures of craving and mood after exposure to control cues, after exposure to food cues, and after consuming each of three small portions of food. In Study 2, 31 individuals with subclinical symptoms of binge eating completed the same procedures. The results suggested that food cues reliably elicited craving, increased attention to the cues, and decreased positive affect in both samples, although reactivity was greater among the sample with greater eating pathology. Correlational ana...Continue Reading

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