Food has the right of way: Evidence for prioritised processing of visual food stimuli irrespective of eating style

Published on Nov 1, 2019in Appetite3.501
· DOI :10.1016/j.appet.2019.104372
Hannah Kirsten (University of Bonn), Laura-Effi Seib-Pfeifer2
Estimated H-index: 2
(University of Bonn)
+ 1 AuthorsHenning Gibbons17
Estimated H-index: 17
(University of Bonn)
Abstract Visual attention for food is likely to play an important role for overeating. The attentional bias for visual food stimuli was investigated with respect to self-reported restrained, external and emotional eating style. Using a Rapid Serial Visual Presentation task ( N  = 103), the effects of visual food stimuli in the context of the attentional blink were examined. Food targets enhanced the attentional blink when presented as first targets in a rapid stream of pictures and impaired the identification of preceding non-food targets in terms of a backward interference when presented as second targets. Task irrelevant food distractors interfered with the identification of subsequent non-food targets. The effects provide evidence for a prioritisation of food stimuli in the allocation of attentional resources. The attentional bias for food emerged as a universal phenomenon irrespective of personal eating style. Therefore, enhanced attention for visual food stimuli seems to play no direct causal role in eating styles associated with overeating.
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