The pulling power of chocolate: Effects of approach-avoidance training on approach bias and consumption

H. Dickson, D.J. Kavanagh, Colin Macleod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. Previous research has shown that action tendencies to approach alcohol may be modified using computerized Approach-Avoidance Task (AAT), and that this impacted on subsequent consumption. A recent paper in this journal (Becker, Jostman, Wiers, & Holland, 2015) failed to show significant training effects for food in three studies: Nor did it find effects on subsequent consumption. However, avoidance training to high calorie foods was tested against a control rather than Approach training. The present study used a more comparable paradigm to the alcohol studies. It randomly assigned 90 participants to 'approach' or 'avoid' chocolate images on the AAT, and then asked them to taste and rate chocolates. A significant interaction of condition and time showed that training to avoid chocolate resulted in faster avoidance responses to chocolate images, compared with training to approach it. Consistent with Becker et al.'s Study 3, no effect was found on amounts of chocolate consumed, although a newly published study in this journal (Schumacher, Kemps, & Tiggemann, 2016) did do so. The collective evidence does not as yet provide solid basis for the application of AAT training to reduction of problematic food consumption, although clinical trials have yet to be conducted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
JournalAppetite
Volume99
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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