Women with elevated food addiction symptoms show accelerated reactions, but no impaired inhibitory control, in response to pictures of high-calorie food-cues (2012)

Eating Behaviors

Volume 13, Issue 4, December 2012, Pages 423–428



Addictive behaviors are accompanied by a lack of inhibitory control, specifically when individuals are confronted with substance-related cues. Thus, we expected women with symptoms of food addiction to be impaired in inhibitory control, when confronted with palatable, high-calorie food-cues. Female college students (N = 50) were divided in low and high food addiction groups based on the symptom count of the Yale Food Addiction Scale. Participants performed a Go/No-go-task with high-calorie food-cues or neutral pictures presented behind the targets. Self-reported impulsivity was also assessed. The high food addiction group had faster reaction times in response to food-cues as compared to neutral cues and reported higher attentional impulsivity than the low food addiction group. Commission and omission errors did not differ between groups or picture types. Hence, women with food addiction symptoms reported higher attentional impulsivity and reacted faster in response to food-cues, although neither increased self-reported motor impulsivity nor impaired behavioral inhibition was found. Food addiction symptoms seem to be related to attentional aspects of impulsivity but not other facets of impulsivity.


► Young women were investigated (N = 50).

► Groups with high vs. low food addiction (FA) symptoms were compared.

► Self-reported attentional impulsivity was higher in the high FA group.

► Reaction times to food-cues in a Go/No-go task were faster in the high FA group.

► Groups did not differ in other facets of impulsivity or response inhibition.


  • Food addiction;
  • Food-cues;
  • Behavioral inhibition;
  • Impulsivity