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Attentional bias to food-related visual cues: is there a role in obesity?

Doolan, Katy J, Breslin, Gavin, Hanna, Donncha and Gallagher, Alison (2015) Attentional bias to food-related visual cues: is there a role in obesity? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 74 (1). pp. 37-45. [Journal article]

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URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002966511400144X

DOI: 10.1017/S002966511400144X

Abstract

The incentive sensitisation model of obesity suggests that modification of the dopaminergic associated reward systems in the brain may result in increased awareness of food-related visual cues present in the current food environment. Having a heightened awareness of these visual food cues may impact on food choices and eating behaviours with those being most aware of or demonstrating greater attention to food-related stimuli potentially being at greater risk of overeating and subsequent weight gain. To date, research related to attentional responses to visual food cues has been both limited and conflicting. Such inconsistent findings may in part be explained by the use of different methodological approaches to measure attentional bias and the impact of other factors such as hunger levels, energy density of visual food cues and individual eating style traits that may influence visual attention to food-related cues outside of weight status alone. This review examines the various methodologies employed to measure attentional bias with a particular focus on the role that attentional processing of food-related visual cues may have in obesity. Based on the findings of this review, it appears that it may be too early to clarify the role visual attention to food-related cues may have in obesity. Results however highlight the importance of considering the most appropriate methodology to use when measuring attentional bias and the characteristics of the study populations targeted while interpreting results to date and in designing future studies.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Biomedical Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Sport
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Biomedical Sciences Research Institute > Nutrition Innovation Centre for Food and Health (NICHE)
Biomedical Sciences Research Institute
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute
Sport and Exercise Sciences Research Institute > Centre for Sports Science and Sports Medicine
ID Code:30278
Deposited By: Professor Alison Gallagher
Deposited On:30 Sep 2014 08:16
Last Modified:08 Feb 2016 14:57

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