Cognitive control modulates attention to food cues: Support for the control readiness model of self-control

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Self-control in one's food choices often depends on the regulation of attention toward healthy choices and away from temptations. We tested whether selective attention to food cues can be modulated by a newly developed proactive self-control mechanism—control readiness—whereby control activated in one domain can facilitate control in another domain. In two studies, we elicited the activation of control using a color-naming Stroop task and tested its effect on attention to food cues in a subsequent, unrelated task. We found that control readiness modulates both overt attention, which involves shifts in eye gaze (Study 1), and covert attention, which involves shift in mental attention without shifting in eye gaze (Study 2). We further demonstrated that individuals for whom tempting food cues signal a self-control problem (operationalized by relatively higher BMI) were especially likely to benefit from control readiness. We discuss the theoretical contributions of the control readiness model and the implications of our findings for enhancing proactive self-control to overcome temptation in food choices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)94-101
Number of pages8
JournalBrain and cognition
Volume110
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Cognitive control
  • Control readiness
  • Food cues
  • Selective attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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