Chocolate equals stop: Chocolate-specific inhibition training reduces chocolate intake and go associations with chocolate

  • Houben K
  • Jansen A
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Earlier research has demonstrated that food-specific inhibition training wherein food cues are repeatedly and consistently mapped onto stop signals decreases food intake and bodyweight. The mechanisms underlying these training effects, however, remain unclear. It has been suggested that consistently pairing stimuli with stop signals induces automatic stop associations with those stimuli, thereby facilitating automatic, bottom-up inhibition. This study examined this hypothesis with respect to food-inhibition training. Participants performed a training that consistently paired chocolate with no go cues (chocolate/no-go) or with go cues (chocolate/go). Following training, we measured automatic associations between chocolate and stop versus go, as well as food intake and desire to eat. As expected, food that was consistently mapped onto stopping was indeed more associated with stopping versus going afterwards. In replication of previous results, participants in the no-go condition also showed less desire to eat and reduced food intake relative to the go condition. Together these findings support the idea that food-specific inhibition training prompts the development of automatic inhibition associations, which subsequently facilitate inhibitory control over unwanted food-related urges.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Food intake
  • Inhibition
  • Stop associations
  • Training

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