Slowing down and taking a second look: Inhibitory deficits associated with binge eating are not food-specific

Stephanie M. Manasse*, Stephanie P. Goldstein, Emily Wyckoff, Evan M. Forman, Adrienne S. Juarascio, Meghan L. Butryn, Anthony C. Ruocco, Chantal Nederkoorn

*Corresponding author for this work

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Poor inhibitory control may contribute to the maintenance of binge eating (BE) among overweight and obese individuals. However, it is unknown whether deficits are general or specific to food (versus other attractive non-food stimuli), or whether observed deficits are attributable to increased depressive symptoms in BE groups. In the current study, we hypothesized that individuals with BE would display inhibitory control deficits, with more pronounced deficits occurring when food stimuli were used. Overweight or obese participants with (n = 25) and without (n = 65) BE completed a Stop Signal Task (SST) with distinct task blocks featuring food-specific stimuli, positive non-food stimuli, or neutral stimuli. The BE group exhibited poorer inhibitory control across SST stimuli types (p = .003, eta(2)(p) = .10), but deficits did not differ by stimuli type (p = .68, eta(2)(p) <.01). Including depression as a covariate did not significantly alter results. Results suggest individuals with BE display inhibitory control deficits compared to controls; however, deficits do not appear to be specific to stimuli type. Furthermore, inhibitory control deficits do not appear to be associated with mood disturbance in the BE group. Replication and further research is needed to guide treatment targets.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)555-559
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Inhibitory control
  • Response inhibition
  • Stop signal task
  • Binge eating
  • Loss-of-control eating


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