Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Professor Alison Harris

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© 2014 Sibinee D. Jokela

Abstract

The current study sought to test the existence of a phenomenon known as sensory-specific satiety, in which attentional bias for food cues is specifically diminished for a consumed food, and the role of gender in such biases. In order to do so, the experiment used a version of the Flanker Task in which participants were shown image groups containing a target image and congruent or incongruent distracting flanker images. Participants (17 males, 22 females) were randomly assigned to consume one of two foods depicted in the flanker task (Ritz Bitz sandwiches or miniature Golden Oreos). Results did not support the idea of sensory-specific satiety, as we found a general reduction in reaction time rather than interactions in target/flanker congruency, suggesting that task performance was not driven by attentional bias to the food cues. However, there was an interesting interaction effect for session, consumption, and gender, such that women were faster than men for the consumed food post-satiety. Results may be explained by differences in motivation potentially caused by dissimilarities in dopamine levels. Additionally, results of the current experiment in combination with previous research could provide insight on gender differences in obesity.

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