The discrepancy between implicit and explicit attitudes in predicting disinhibited eating

Stephanie P. Goldstein, Evan M. Forman, Nachshon Meiran, James D. Herbert, Adrienne S. Juarascio, Meghan L. Butryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Disinhibited eating (i.e., the tendency to overeat, despite intentions not to do so, in the presence of palatable foods or other cues such as emotional stress) is strongly linked with obesity and appears to be associated with both implicit (automatic) and explicit (deliberative) food attitudes. Prior research suggests that a large discrepancy between implicit and explicit food attitudes may contribute to greater levels of disinhibited eating; however this theory has not been directly tested. The current study examined whether the discrepancy between implicit and explicit attitudes towards chocolate could predict both lab-based and self-reported disinhibited eating of chocolate. Results revealed that, whereas neither implicit nor explicit attitudes alone predicted disinhibited eating, absolute attitude discrepancy positively predicted chocolate consumption. Impulsivity moderated this effect, such that discrepancy was less predictive of disinhibited eating for those who exhibited lower levels of impulsivity. The results align with the meta-cognitive model to indicate that attitude discrepancy may be involved in overeating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-170
Number of pages7
JournalEating Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Attitude discrepancy
  • Disinhibition
  • Explicit attitudes
  • Implicit attitudes
  • Impulsivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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