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“Reward Sensitivity” May Explain Why Some People Are More Vulnerable To Overeating

July 10, 2012: 12:00 AM EST
An Australian psychologist has found that “reward sensitivity” is the personality trait in women that is most closely associated with a greater liking of junk food images found in, for example, television ads, and with an increased urge to eat junk food. The study monitored 75 men and women who watched a 30 minute film embedded with junk food, healthy food, or no food in the commercials. Participants rated the pleasantness of food images and their desire to eat after watching the films. Reward-sensitive women – but not men – experienced greater pleasure and a stronger urge to eat after watching TV ads featuring junk food, compared with ads showing healthy food or no food at all.
Natalie Loxton, "Reward Sensitivity Increases Food “Wanting” Following Television “Junk Food” Commercials", News release, presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior, July 10, 2012, © Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior
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