Emotional eating and instructed food-cue processing in adolescents: An ERP study

Academic Article


  • © 2017 Elsevier B.V. We examined the P3 (250–500 ms) and Late Positive Potential (LPP; 500–2000 ms) event-related potentials (ERPs) to food vs. nonfood cues among adolescents reporting on emotional eating (EE) behavior. Eighty-six adolescents 10–17 years old were tested using an instructed food versus nonfood cue viewing task (imagine food taste) during high-density EEG recording. Self-report data showed that EE increased with age in girls, but not in boys. Both P3 and LPP amplitudes were greater for food vs. nonfood cues (food-cue bias). Exploratory analyses revealed that, during the LPP time period, greater EE was associated with a more positive food-cue bias in the fronto-central region. This heightened fronto-central food-cue bias LPP is in line with a more activated prefrontal attention system. The results suggest that adolescents with higher EE may engage more top-down cognitive resources to regulate their automatic emotional response to food cues, and/or they may exhibit greater reward network activation to food cues than do adolescents with lower EE, even in the absence of an emotional mood induction.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wu J; Willner CJ; Hill C; Fearon P; Mayes LC; Crowley MJ
  • Start Page

  • 27
  • End Page

  • 36
  • Volume

  • 132