Expression of executive control in situational context: Effects of facilitating versus restraining cues on snack food consumption

Peter Hall, Betty Tran, Cassandra Lowe, Corita Vincent, Marina Mourtzakis, Teresa Liu-Ambrose, Harry Prapavessis, Yori Gidron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives: To examine the effects of executive function (EF) on objectively measured high-calorie snack food consumption in 2 age groups and to explore the moderating influence of environmental cues. Methods: In Study 1, 43 older adults (Mage = 74.81) and in Study 2, 79 younger adults (Mage = 18.71) completed measures of EF and subsequently participated in a bogus taste-test paradigm wherein they were required to rate 3 highly appetitive (but high-calorie) snack foods on taste and texture. Grams of snack food consumed was measured covertly in the presence randomly assigned contextual cues (explicit semantic cues in Study 1; implicit visual cues in Study 2) that were facilitating or restraining in nature. Results: Findings indicated that in both age groups, stronger EF predicted lower consumption of snack foods across conditions, and the effects of EF were most pronounced in the presence of facilitating cues. Conclusions: Older and younger adults with weaker EF tend to consume more high-calorie snack food compared with their stronger EF counterparts. These tendencies appear to be especially amplified in the presence of facilitating cues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)539-546
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Psychology
Volume34
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Brain
  • Cognition
  • Dietary behavior
  • Executive function
  • Snacking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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