Eating behavior in response to food-cue exposure: examining the cue-reactivity and counteractive-control models

Psychol Addict Behav. 2009 Mar;23(1):131-9. doi: 10.1037/a0013610.


Many studies have demonstrated that those high in weight-related concerns eat more after food-cue exposure, which is consistent with predictions of the cue-reactivity model. However, the counteractive-control model predicts that exposure to fattening foods activates dieting-related goals and behavior in weight-concerned individuals. Although these models seem incongruous, the authors hypothesized that the salience of the cue could represent a critical factor in determining which model is activated. The authors predicted that attending to salient food cues would result in increased intake (cue reactivity) in individuals with high weight-related concerns, whereas incidental food-cue exposure would result in decreased intake (counteractive control), relative to control exposure. The authors employed a 3 (attended vs. incidental vs. control cue) x 2 (low vs. high weight-related concerns) design. As expected, participants with high weight-related concerns who attended to a food cue ate more than did both those with high weight-related concerns in the control condition and those with low weight-related concerns in the attended-cue condition; however, intake of individuals with high weight-related concerns who were exposed to the incidental cue did not differ from that of those in the control condition. The manner of food-cue presentation may be a critical factor in determining eating behavior. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Caloric Restriction / psychology*
  • Cues*
  • Diet, Reducing / psychology*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Food*
  • Humans
  • Young Adult