CitationSadler, Jennifer R.; Shearrer, Grace E.; Papantoni, Afroditi; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; & Burger, Kyle S. (2020). Behavioral and Physiological Characteristics Associated with Learning Performance on an Appetitive Probabilistic Selection Task. Physiology and Behavior, 223, 112984. PMCID: PMC7385932
AbstractIndividuals show meaningful variability in food choices. Choices are affected by individual differences in sensitivity to food reward and punishment, so understanding correlates of response to food reinforcement can help characterize food choices. Here, we examined behavioral and physiological correlates of individual differences in how individuals learn from food reward and punishment, as measured by performance on an appetitive probabilistic selection task that used sweet and bitter tastes as reinforcement. Sensitivity to food reward, sensitivity to food punishment, and overall learning performance were measured in 89 adults. Multivariate linear regressions were used to test if variables including body mass index (BMI), external eating, emotional eating, behavioral inhibition/behavioral activation scales (BIS/BAS), and perceived sensitivity to reward and punishment (SPQ/SRQ) were associated with measures of learning performance. External eating (β=-.035, p=.019), BIS (β=-.066, p=.004), and SPQ (β=.003, p=.023) were associated with overall learning performance. BMI (β=-.000, p=.012), emotional eating (β=.055, p=.006), and external eating (β=-.062, p=.004) were associated with sensitivity to food reward. No variables were associated with sensitivity to food punishment. In post hoc analyses, the interaction of sex and SPQ was associated with overall performance (β=-.005, p=.025), such that the relationship was positive in women only (β=.006, p=0.002). Results support that, controlling for key individual characteristics, BMI and susceptibility to food cues are associated with lower sensitivity to food reward, which may affect future food choices and eating behavior.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitlePhysiology and Behavior
Author(s)Sadler, Jennifer R.
Shearrer, Grace E.
Burger, Kyle S.