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Wanting to eat matters: Negative affect and emotional eating were associated with impaired memory suppression of food cues

Zhang, Ruyi, Yang, Xinmeng, Yang, Runlan, Xu, Ziru, Sui, Nan, Gao, Xiao
Appetite 2020 v.150 pp. 104660
cognition, decision making, eating habits, females, food intake, memory
Previous studies have linked emotional eating with negative affect and decreased inhibitory control. However, studies on inhibitory control have generally focused on motor inhibition. How to stop higher-level cognitive processes, such as food-related memory retrieval or voluntary thoughts, received few direct investigation in field of food intake or food-related decision making. The current study, adopting Anderson and Green's Think/No-Think paradigm, aimed to investigate the relationship between emotional eating, negative affect and food-related memory suppression.Sixty-one young females participated in the current study, during which they finished food specific Think/No-Think task. Their positive and negative affect and eating style were measured using Positive Affect and Negative Affect Schedule and Dutch Eating Behavior Question. The reward value of the food item used in the Think/No-Think task was measured using liking and wanting ratings.As hypothesized, negative affect and emotional eating were associated with decreased memory suppression of palatable food cues. Further analysis showed that higher emotional eating was associated with greater wanting only among the food items which were previously suppressed however remembered later.The current study presents the first evidence that negative affect and emotional eating were associated with impaired memory suppression of palatable food cues, and it provided insight into the interaction between reward valuation for the food cues and hippocampal memory mechanisms during retrieval suppression.