Effects of Temptation and Weight on Hedonics and Motivation to Eat in Women




Objective: The aim of the present study was to examine the extent to which food temptation influences liking, the hedonics of food, and wanting, the motivation to eat, and whether this effect differed between normal-weight and overweight women.

Methods and Procedures: Ninety-seven normal-weight and overweight women participated in a randomized experiment, which used a two-by-two design with food temptation and body weight as independent variables. ANOVAs tested the effect of these factors on wanting and liking.

Results: The most important finding of this study was that food temptation had a significant effect on wanting, but not on liking. Wanting was mainly influenced by temptation; however, this effect was moderated by weight. Interestingly, temptation caused a decrease in wanting, but only in normal-weight women. This effect of temptation could not be explained by a change in affect after manipulation or a difference in hunger before the start of the experiment.

Discussion: A possible explanation for the finding that normal-weight women showed a decline in wanting after the confrontation with highly palatable food may be that normal-weight women are protected by a higher sensory-specific satiety. Moreover, it is possible that in these women goals regarding, for example, weight maintenance are more easily evoked, which may remind them of the positive consequences of not yielding into temptation.