Attention bias for food is independent of restraint in healthy weight individuals : an eye tracking study

J. Werthmann*, A. Roefs, C. Nederkoorn, K. Mogg, B.P. Bradley, A. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

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OBJECTIVE: Restrained eating style and weight status are highly correlated. Though both have been associated with an attentional bias for food cues, in prior research restraint and BMI were often confounded. The aim of the present study was to determine the existence and nature of an attention bias for food cues in healthy-weight female restrained and unrestrained eaters, when matching the two groups on BMI. METHOD: Attention biases for food cues were measured by recordings of eye movements during a visual probe task with pictorial food versus non-food stimuli. Healthy weight high restrained (n = 24) and low restrained eaters (n = 21) were matched on BMI in an attempt to unconfound the effects of restraint and weight on attention allocation patterns. RESULTS: All participants showed elevated attention biases for food stimuli in comparison to neutral stimuli, independent of restraint status. DISCUSSION: These findings suggest that attention biases for food-related cues are common for healthy weight women and show that restrained eating (per se) is not related to biased processing of food stimuli, at least not in healthy weight participants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)397-400
Number of pages4
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013


  • Attention
  • Cognitive bias
  • Eye movements
  • Food cues
  • Dietary restraint
  • BMI
  • CUES

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