Prisoners of addictive cues: Biobehavioral markers of overweight and obese adults with food addiction

Roni Aviram-Friedman, Lior Kafri, Guy Baz, Uri Alyagon, Abraham Zangen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity is associated with food and eating addiction (FA), but the biobehavioral markers of this condition are poorly understood. To characterize FA, we recruited 18 healthy controls and overweight/obese adults with (n = 31) and without (n = 17) FA (H-C, FAOB, NFAOB, respectively) to assess alpha brain asymmetry at rest using electroencephalogram; event-related potentials following exposure to high-calorie food (HCF), low-calorie food (LCF), and nonfood (NF) images in a Stroop paradigm; reaction time reflective of the Stroop bias; and symptoms of depression and disordered eating behavior. The FAOB group had the greatest emotional and uncontrollable eating, depressive, and binge-eating symptoms. The FAOB group displayed lower resting left alpha brain asymmetry than that of the NFAOB group. Differently from the other groups, the FAOB group presented attenuated Stroop bias following exposure to HCF relative to NF images, as well as a lower late positive potential component (LPPb; 450–495 ms) in both frontal and occipital regions. In the total cohort, a correlation was found between the Stroop bias and the LPPb amplitude. These results point to biobehavioral hypervigilance in response to addictive food triggers in overweight/obese adults with FA. This resembles other addictive disorders but is absent in overweight/obesity without FA.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3563
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Attention bias
  • Brain asymmetry
  • Cue responsivity
  • Event-related potentials
  • Food addiction
  • Food stroop
  • Obesity

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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