Previous research has indicated that flavorâ€“flavor learning is impaired in restrained eaters. In Experiment 1 we sought to extend this finding using a larger sample and a more comprehensive assessment of dietary behavior. Participants (N = 90, including 30 current dieters) sampled three novel flavors (CSs), each on 10 separate occasions, in a randomized order. Each flavor was paired with chocolate (US) either 10%, 50%, or 90% of the time. We then assessed liking for the three CSs and asked participants to complete the DEBQ-restraint and TFEQ-disinhibition sub-scales. After these CS-US parings, restrained eaters tended to prefer the 10% paired flavor whereas unrestrained eaters tended to prefer the 90% paired flavor. Differential CS liking was not evident in dieters and it was not predicted by disinhibition. Using a similar methodology, in Experiment 2 (N = 76) we assessed evaluative change following picture-sweet pairings. Relative to the other CSs, the restrained eaters reported a greater increase in their liking for the 10% paired CS and the unrestrained eaters reported a greater increase in their liking for the 90% paired CS. We also discovered that evaluative change is related to the level of US devaluation that takes place during conditioning. Evidence that a sweet US can bring about a decrease in liking has not been reported previously. One interpretation is that negative beliefs and attitudes can contaminate the representation of the US during training.
Bibliographical notePublisher: Elsevier Science
- Nutrition and Behaviour
- Physical and Mental Health