Negative and positive interpretations of emotionally neutral situations modulate the desire to eat personally craved foods

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Emotions play an important role in modulating food craving. Previous studies demonstrated that exposure to negative or positive stimuli can subsequently influence the desire to eat. However, in many daily situations, individuals self-generate their emotions, for example, by interpreting emotionally-neutral situations as positive or negative. So far, no studies have examined if and how positive and negative interpretations of emotionally-neutral situations modulate food craving. In this study, 65 healthy participants were asked to interpret emotionally-neutral images negatively or positively or observe the images naturally. Subsequently, participants rated their state negative/positive affect and their desire to eat their personally craved foods. The results demonstrate a lower desire to eat craved foods after negative interpretations and a higher desire to eat after positive interpretations, compared to an observe-naturally condition. Additionally, the impact of emotional interpretations on the desire to eat was mediated by participants' state negative/positive affect. These findings suggest that self-generated emotion as a result of negative/positive interpretations plays a significant role in modulating food craving. The results highlight the potential of modifying affective interpretations for the treatment of disorders that are characterized by both dysregulated food craving and emotion.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number107092
JournalAppetite
Volume191
Early online date16 Oct 2023
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023

Keywords

  • Affect
  • Desire to eat
  • Emotion
  • Food craving
  • Interpretation bias

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • General Psychology

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