Power of mind: Attentional focus rather than palatability dominates neural responding to visual food stimuli in females with overweight

17th August 2020

To our brain, high calorie foods are both appealing (they are delicious), but also considered unhealthy. How do our brains deal with this, and more importantly: can this information be used to help people with overweight? In the current study, the brain’s responses to high caloric food stimuli were measured, while participants (females with overweight) had to focus on either how delicious the presented food images were (hedonic condition), or on the color of the food images (neutral condition). Does this mindset affect how our brain processes the delicious images? During this experiment, brain activity was measured using functional MRI.

The results showed that images of high-caloric food are processed differently in the brains of overweight individuals when they are in a hedonic mindset. That shows the importance of considering attentional focus when measuring food-related neural responses.


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