The main purpose of the present study was to investigate differences in the processing of food-related pictures between women with high and low scores on a scale of external eating. Electro-encephalographic brain activity was recorded, while participants were actively exposed to pictures of food items and control pictures. The amplitude of the P300 component of the even-related potentials was used as an index of motivation-related information processing. An enlarged P300 wave to food-related pictures was found in high external eaters as compared to low external eaters at several parieto-occipital electrode positions. No group differences in P300 amplitudes were found to neutral control pictures or pleasant, motivationally salient control pictures. It can be concluded that external eaters display an enhanced attentional processing of food-related information. The findings are discussed within an incentive sensitization model of overeating behavior.

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Erasmus School of Economics

Nijs, I., Franken, I., & Muris, P. (2009). Enhanced processing of food-related pictures in female external eaters. Appetite, 53(3), 376–383. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2009.07.022