Although eating desires can be easily learned, their extinction appears more difficult. The present two-session study aimed to investigate the role of eating expectancies in the short and longer-term extinction of eating desires. In addition, the relationship between eating desires and conditioned evaluations was examined to test whether they might share a similar mechanism. It was hypothesized that the short-term extinction of eating desires would be more successful after the disconfirmation of eating expectancies (instructed extinction or IE), while resulting in worse longer-term extinction because omission of the food reward during extinction is not surprising. In contrast to the hypotheses, it was found that IE had no effect on the short-term and longer-term extinction of eating desires. Eating desires correlated with conditioned evaluations only to some extent. It is concluded that eating expectancies do not mediate the short-term extinction of conditioned eating desires. In addition, their longer-term extinction does not appear to be facilitated by a greater violation of eating expectancies. This suggests that it might not be necessary to focus on expectancy violation in cue exposure therapy to reduce eating desires.
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- Appetitive conditioning, Instructed extinction, Extinction, Spontaneous recovery, Expectancy violation, Cue exposure therapy, FOOD-CUE EXPOSURE, INSTRUCTED EXTINCTION, STIMULUS VALENCE, BULIMIA-NERVOSA, RESPONSES, OVERWEIGHT, REACTIVITY, RESISTANT, FEAR, REACQUISITION