The interactive effect of hunger and impulsivity on food intake and purchase in a virtual supermarket

C. Nederkoorn*, R. Guerrieri, R.C. Havermans, A.J. Roefs, A.T.M. Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

159 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: It has been shown repeatedly that impulsivity, obesity and food intake are related; obese people are more impulsive than lean people and impulsive people eat more than less impulsive people. The relation between impulsivity and food intake might be state dependent; hunger motivates food seeking behaviour and food consumption, especially of high caloric food. Difficulties to overrule automatic behavioural tendencies might make impulsive people more susceptible to the effects of hunger on food selection. Therefore, they are expected to increase their intake more than low impulsive people when feeling hungry. Study 1: Fifty-seven female participants were randomly assigned to a hunger or sated condition. Response inhibition (a measure of impulsivity) and food intake were measured. Results show that impulsive participants ate significantly more, but only when feeling hungry. Study 2: Ninety-four undergraduate students participated. Hunger, response inhibition and the purchase of food in a virtual supermarket were measured. The same interaction was found: impulsive participants bought most calories, especially from snack food, but only when feeling hungry. Conclusion: Hunger and impulsivity interact in their influence on consumption. These data suggest that reducing hunger during calorie restricting diets is important for successful weight loss, particularly for the impulsive dieters. International Journal of Obesity (2009) 33, 905-912; doi: 10.1038/ijo.2009.98; published online 23 June 2009
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)905-912
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

Cite this