, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp 114-121
Date: 28 Feb 2012

Elaborated Intrusion Theory: A Cognitive-Emotional Theory of Food Craving


A clear understanding of the cognitive-emotional processes underpinning desires to overconsume foods and adopt sedentary lifestyles can inform the development of more effective interventions to promote healthy eating and physical activity. The Elaborated Intrusion Theory of Desires offers a framework that can help in this endeavor through its emphases on the roles of intrusive thoughts and elaboration of multisensory imagery. There is now substantial evidence that tasks that compete for limited working memory resources with food-related imagery can reduce desires to eat that food, and that positive imagery can promote functional behavior. Meditation mindfulness can also short-circuit elaboration of dysfunctional cognition. Functional Decision Making is an approach that applies laboratory-based research on desire, to provide a motivational intervention to establish and entrench behavior changes, so healthy eating and physical activity become everyday habits.