Approach bias for food cues in obese individuals
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This study aimed to investigate the existence of an approach bias for food cues in obese individuals. A community sample of 56 obese women and 56 normal weight controls completed an approach–avoidance variant of the implicit association task. The obese participants were faster to respond to trials that paired food words with approach words, and trials that paired non-food words with avoid words, than the converse pairings, thus, demonstrating an approach bias for food. This bias was evident for both high caloric and low caloric food words, and was not attributable to a state of deprivation or feelings of hunger. By contrast, the normal weight controls did not show any such bias. The results are consistent with recent neurocognitive perspectives of obesity. At a practical level, approach biases for food may present a potential target for modifying (excessive) food intake.