Journal of Undergraduate Research


neural mechanisms, inhibitory control, eating behavior in obesity


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Obesity is a prominent public health concern associated with increased risk of high blood pressure, chronic diseases, and mortality (National Institutes of Health, 2011). Understanding the neural underpinnings of obesity may prove beneficial for effective weight control interventions. Specifically, decreased ability to inhibit responses toward food-related cues may be associated with impulsive eating and subsequent weight gain (Batterink, Yokum, & Strice, 2010). Response inhibition is defined as one’s ability to withhold a prominent response in order to correctly respond to environmental or taskrelevant information (Ko & Miller, 2013). Weight and inhibitory control are negatively correlated, indicating that individuals with reduced inhibitory control may have a harder time restricting themselves from eating foods high in fat and sugar, leading to weight gain (Vainik, Dagher, Dube, & Fellows, 2013). However, the brain’s pattern of response to food-related stimuli is unclear and food-related response inhibition patterns that distinguish obese and lean individuals are unknown. Furthermore, no studies have examined if neural markers associated with response inhibition predict eating behaviors.

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