To Eat or Not to Eat: Implications of the Attentional Myopia Model for Restrained Eaters

Traci Mann, Andrew Ward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

The attentional myopia model of behavioral control was tested in a study of food consumption by chronic dieters. According to the model, when individuals' attentional capacity is limited, their behavior will be disproportionately influenced by highly salient internal and external cues to the exclusion of more distal stimuli. In situations that normally feature conflicting behavioral pressures, such a state of narrowed attention is likely to result in abnormally disinhibited behavior when cues promoting action are more salient and to result in abnormally restrained behavior when inhibiting cues are more salient. In addition to supporting the predictions of the model, this study provided the first evidence for enhanced behavioral control under conditions of limited attention. Participants' responses to a thought-reporting measure also provided evidence for the role played by attentional myopia in the control of eating. Implications for a broad array of regulatory successes and failures are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of abnormal psychology
Volume113
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2004

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