Examining contextual factors associated with food-related reward and eating restraint
Rates of obesity have risen sharply throughout the world over the past several decades. The increase in the availability of highly palatable, high-calorie foods may be one factor that has contributed to this trend. That is, the availability of such foods may lead to their over-consumption and corresponding weight gain. Currently, relatively little is known about how the availability of foods, per se, affects things such as the motivation to eat and the ability to resist doing so. The current study is designed to help address this knowledge gap by examining the effects of food availability in people with high levels of dietary restraint. Dietary restraint, which refers to the intention to restrict food intake deliberately in order to prevent weight gain or to promote weight, is linked to problematic patterns of eating. This project uses laboratory tasks and brain imaging to study the effects of food availability on various outcomes, including food choices, food craving, and responses in brain areas linked to motivation.
Participants will be asked to fill out some online questionnaires and complete some computerized behavioral tasks. They will be asked to attend a one-hour virtual screening/baseline session via Zoom, and a 3-hour MRI session in the Penn State campus, University Park. In the MRI session, participants will be performing on a task involving asking them to view a series of colorful food pictures inside an MRI scanner while their brain activity is being scanned.
Participants must be right handed.
Participants must be fluent English speakers.
Participants must have a body mass index (BMI) >= 25.
Participants must have experienced food eating/weight issues.
If participant have a lifetime history of diagnosed eating disorders, diabetes, hyperglycemia, high levels of triglycerides, or high cholesterol or other related medical conditions.
If participants have any known risk from exposure to high-field strength magnetic fields (e.g., pace makers), any irremovable metallic foreign objects in their body (e.g., braces), or a questionable history of metallic fragments.
If participants report that they are vegetarian/vegan.
If participants are not willing to refrain from using alcohol for 24 hours or from using nicotine products/recreational drugs for 3 weeks, or unwilling to fast from food for 5 hours prior to two of three lab visits.