ISSN 2043-8087
Journal of Experimental Psychopathology
 Volume 8, Issue 1, 40-54, 2017
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The Attraction of Sugar: An Association Between Body Mass Index and Impaired Avoidance of Sweet Snacks

  Joyce Maas - Radboud University Nijmegen
  Marcella L. Woud - University of Bochum
  Ger P.J. Keijsers - Radboud University Nijmegen
  Mike Rinck - Radboud University Nijmegen
  Eni S. Becker - Radboud University Nijmegen
  Reinout W. Wiers - University of Amsterdam

Volume 8, Issue 1, 2017, Pages 40-54


The present study investigated implicit approach-avoidance action tendencies towards snack foods (pictorial Approach-Avoidance Task), and implicit approach-avoidance associations (verbal approach-avoidance Single-Target IAT) and affective associations (verbal positive-negative Single-Target IAT) with snack foods in a group of unselected student participants (N = 83). Participants with higher BMI scores had more difficulty to avoid sweet, but not salty snack foods on the Approach-Avoidance Task. Furthermore, as shown by both Single-Target IATs, there were no significant associations between BMI on the one hand and approach-avoidance associations and positive-negative affective associations on the other hand. BMI did show a positive correlation with errors made on all tasks. The results found on the Approach-Avoidance Task suggest that not increased approach, but impaired avoidance of snacks, might be related to increased BMI. However, more research is needed to further disentangle these findings. 

Table of Contents
 Materials and procedure
 Approach-Avoidance Task
 Single-Target IAT
 Rating task
 Statistical analyses
 Approach-Avoidance Task
 Single-Target IAT Approach-avoidance
 Single-Target IAT Positive-negative
 Rating Task
 Exploratory analyses: food preference

Correspondence to
Joyce Maas, Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE, Tilburg, the Netherlands.

Body Mass Index, implicit processes, action tendencies, approach/avoidance, affective associations

Received 12 Nov 2015; Revised 5 Apr 2016; Accepted 5 Apr 2016; In Press 1 May 2016

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