Author Date


Degree Name





Family, Home, and Social Sciences

Defense Date


Publication Date


First Faculty Advisor

Michael Larson

Second Faculty Advisor

James LeCheminant

Honors Coordinator

Rebekka Matheson


EEG, inhibition, neuroscience, soda


In the United States, the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages per capita from 1977 to 2002 doubled across all age groups. One factor that may contribute to the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is inhibitory control, or the ability to withhold a dominant response in order to correctly respond to one’s environment. Studies suggest that increased recruitment of inhibitory control resources plays a role in decreasing the consumption of high-calorie foods and that strengthening an individual’s inhibitory control may help them manage their food intake. However, the neural response to sugar-sweetened beverages versus non-sweetened beverages is unknown. Thus, we tested event-related potential (ERP) manifestations of inhibitory control, including the N2 and P3 components of the ERP, to sugar-sweetened beverages (in this case, soda beverages versus bottles of water) using a go/no-go task in a sample of 116 healthy individuals (M = 20.56; SD = 2.08; 47.4% female). We hypothesized that individuals would recruit increased levels of inhibitory control (i.e., larger N2 and P3 ERP components) toward soda beverages than neutral cues due to soda's rewarding nature. ERP results indicated inhibitory control was greater when individuals withheld their dominant responses to soda stimuli compared to when they withheld their response to neutral stimuli. Neither weight, N2 difference amplitude on the soda task, nor P3 difference amplitude on the soda task predicted measures of soda intake. We conclude that greater inhibitory control resources are required when withholding responses to soda beverages compared to water, and that inhibitory control mechanisms do not predict soda intake.