Visual Processing, Food Cravings and Weight-Loss Dieters
Weight-loss dieting is associated with a range of negative outcomes, including the experience of unwanted food cravings. Such cravings not only have the potential to thwart dieting attempts, but can also lead to binge eating, feelings of guilt and shame, and poor cognitive task performance. This highlights the need for effective craving reduction techniques, particularly as the continued increase in obesity rates and body image concerns is likely to result in more people trying to lose weight by dieting. Unfortunately, the currently available techniques involving either thought suppression or unreinforced exposure to food cues have not proven very successful. This chapter describes a radically different approach to controlling food cravings based on converging evidence that mental imagery is a key component of the craving experience. Empirical data, which show that interfering with the cognitive processes that support craving-related images can suppress food cravings in dieters, are reviewed.
KeywordsEating Disorder Binge Eating Bulimia Nervosa Mental Imagery Phonological Loop
Dynamic visual noise
This work was supported under the Australian Research Council’s Discovery Project funding scheme (project number DP0664435).
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