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Keywords:

  • bulimia nervosa;
  • binge-eating disorder;
  • neuropsychology;
  • inhibitory control;
  • decision making;
  • impulsivity

ABSTRACT

Objective

To investigate neuropsychological mechanisms of impulsivity in patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge-eating disorder (BED).

Method

Nineteen BN patients and 31 age- and body-mass-index (BMI)-matched healthy controls (c-BN) as well as 54 overweight and obese BED patients and 43 age- and BMI-matched healthy controls (c-BED) were investigated using an inhibitory control task (stop signal task, SST) and a decision-making under risk task (game of dice task, GDT).

Results

Compared to c-BN, BN patients demonstrated significant greater stop signal reaction times in the SST, but no differences for the frequency of risky decisions in the GDT. BED patients did not differ from c-BED in the SST or the GDT.

Discussion

BN but not BED patients differed from their respective control groups concerning the “stopping” component of impulsivity. These differences in motor inhibition may contribute to the behavioral distinctions in binge-eating behavior between BN and BED. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. (Int J Eat Disord 2013; 46:721–728)