The influence of negative urgency, attentional bias, and emotional dimensions on palatable food consumption

Kendra Davis Becker, Sarah Fischer, Gregory T. Smith, Joshua D. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We tested a theoretical model concerning the role of attentional bias and negative affect in food consumption that offers important advances. We hypothesized that the effects of negative affect manipulations on food consumption vary as a function of trait levels of negative urgency (NU; tendency to act impulsively when distressed), and attentional bias and that the roles of emotional arousal and negative emotional valence differ and should be studied separately. 190 undergraduate women were randomly assigned to either an anger or neutral mood condition. Women in both conditions completed the Food Stroop, in which the presentation of food and neutral words were counterbalanced. After the task, participants were given the opportunity to eat mandarin oranges and/or chocolate candy while the experimenter was out of the room. The type and quantity of food consumed was counted after the participant departed. As hypothesized, the roles of emotional arousal and valence differed and the effect of the induced emotion was moderated by NU. Women high in NU who experienced emotional arousal were more likely to eat candy and consumed more candy than other women. Emotional valence had no effect on candy consumption. Neither increases in emotional arousal or emotional valence influenced attentional bias to food cues. Attentional bias was also unrelated to food consumption. The impact of negative mood inductions on palatable food consumption appears to operate through emotional arousal and not negative emotional valence, and it may operate primarily for women high in NU.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)236-243
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 1 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Arousal
  • Food
  • Negative urgency
  • Stroop
  • Valence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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