Mind over food: The influence of mindset on brain, body and behaviour

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisInternal

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High-calorie food has two faces, on the one hand a high hedonic value (it is tasty and rewarding) and on the other hand, an unhealthy value (many calories, risk of weight gain). In this dissertation, the influence of mind-set on eating behaviour, neural responses, hormonal responses, metabolism and subjective experiences, such as craving, was investigated. Mind-set is defined as the thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and expectations a person has about a subject. These studies show that the brain does not always respond the same to seeing high calorie tasty foods, but is strongly influenced by mind-set (i.e., focus on taste experience versus neutral). In addition, it was shown that this mind-set influences eating behaviour, and people eat more when they are put into a loss-of-control mind-set beforehand than when they are put into an in-control mind-set. No evidence was found that mind-set can also influence hormonal or metabolic responses and associated subjective perceptions. In addition, it was shown that there was no reduction in activity in the expected brain regions when seeing tasty high-calorie foods after food cue exposure therapy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • Roefs, Anne, Supervisor
  • Jansen, Anita, Supervisor
Award date30 Apr 2021
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464163858
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • eating behaviour
  • mind-set
  • obesity
  • neural responses
  • physiological responses
  • food cue reactivity

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