NCBI ROFL: How scaring small children can help you lose weight.

By ncbi rofl | September 27, 2011 7:15 pm

Fear signals inhibit impulsive behavior toward rewarding food objects.

“We examined whether presentation of environmental cues that are associated with motor inhibition, i.e., fearful facial expressions, can be effective in controlling unintentionally evoked impulses toward rewarding food objects. Participants were presented with palatable foods or control objects. During presentation of the objects, facial expressions displaying fear, disgust, or neutral emotion were shortly presented. Results show that presentation of fearful facial expressions together with palatable foods slowed down subsequent responding to action probes, but only for participants who perceive palatable foods as highly rewarding and impulse-evoking, i.e., restrained eaters. Facial expressions of disgust did not show this effect. This finding suggests that unintentionally evoked motor impulses toward rewarding objects are inhibited upon presentation of a fear signal. The present research provides new insight on how emotional signals may be used to control impulsive responses toward palatable foods by the environment.”

Photo: flickr/MatthewRad

Related content:
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Halloween special feature: Top 6 spooky articles!
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Disgusting smells cause decreased liking of gay men.
Discoblog: NCBI ROFL: Why does this study make me feel unclean?

WTF is NCBI ROFL? Read our FAQ!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: eat me, feelings shmeelings, NCBI ROFL

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!


Quirky, funny, and surprising science news from the edge of the known universe.

About ncbi rofl

NCBI ROFL is the brainchild of two Molecular and Cell Biology graduate students at UC Berkeley and features real research articles from the PubMed database (which is housed by the National Center for Biotechnology information, aka NCBI) that they find amusing (ROFL is a commonly-used internet acronym for "rolling on the floor, laughing").Follow us on twitter: @ncbirofl


See More

Collapse bottom bar