Short-term fasting selectively influences impulsivity in healthy individuals

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Maxine HowardL Serpell


Previous research has shown that short-term fasting in healthy individuals (HIs) is associated with changes in risky decision-making. The current experiment was designed to examine the influence of short-term fasting in HIs on four types of impulsivity: reflection impulsivity, risky decision-making, delay aversion, and action inhibition. HIs were tested twice, once when fasted for 20 hours, and once when satiated. Participants demonstrated impaired action inhibition when fasted; committing significantly more errors of commission during a food-related Affective Shifting Task. Participants also displayed decreased reflection impulsivity when fasted, opening significantly more boxes during the Information Sampling Task (IST). There were no significant differences in performance between fasted and satiated sessions for risky decision-making or delay aversion. These findings may have implications for understanding eating disorders such as Bulimia Nervosa (BN). Although BN has been characterised as a disorder of poor impulse control, inconsistent findings when comparing individuals with BN and HIs on behavioural measures of impulsivity question this characterisation. Since individuals with BN undergo periods of short-term fasting, th...Continue Reading

Related Concepts

Decision Making
Eating Disorders
Sampling - Surgical Action
Research Study
Health Information
Bulimia Nervosa

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