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Title: An investigation of cognitive biases in dietary restraint.
Author: Diamantis, Julia Alexia.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3423 441X
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1992
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Classificationo f individualsa s high and low restrainede aters, accordingt o their relative score on one of the several restraint assessment questionnaires currently in use, has been shown to predicta n anomalouse ating pattern,r eferredt o as counter-regulationo r disinhibition which, appears to be cognitively controlled. Two main sources of cognitive bias which may characterize dietary restraint In female college students have been investigated in this thesis; attentional and memory biases for foodrelated Information. Experiments I-VI assessed selective attention for food-related words. Median split of subjects on scores from a restraint assessment scale yielded contradictory results. When Middle scorers on the restraint assessment scale were excluded from the analyses, It became clear that aftentional biases for food information do not characterize dietary restraint In female college students. Experiment VI replicated this finding In an adolescent population of school girls. However in Experiment III, after consumption of a sweet drink (either high or low calorie), significant Interference effects in colour-narrdng sweet food words emerged for both the high and low restraint groups. The second series of studies examined memory biases for names of foods which are generally considered to be lorbidden' to dieters but which they may still crave. Heightened recall of 'forbidden'f ood words by the high restrainersw as Indicatedi n both ExperimentsV and VI. The dependence of this memory bias upon the subjects knowing that the experiment is concerned With food and eating style was examined in Experiment Vill and the differential effect emerged in both unprimed and primed recall sessions. it was not found In Experiment VII In which subjectsw ere na7ve.T he final study examinedt he effect of self- versus other- referencing during encoding on recall of 'forbidden'and 'healthy'food names by high and low restralners. The experimentsa re discussedi n terms of schematicp rocessingo f emotionally-relevant Information with reference to Beck's Schema Theory of negative affect (1976, Cognitive Therapy and the Emotional Disorders. Int. Uni. Press: NY) and Williams, Watts, MacLeod, & Mathews's model of biased Information processing in emotional disorders (1988, Cognitive Psychology and Ernotional Disorders. Wiley: Chichester). It Is concluded that dietary restraint may be characterized by a memory bias for food names which dieters attempt to avoid. These biases, although statistically significant, were not substantial. it is suggested that future research takes into account the possibility that distinct categories exist within high restraint groups.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Emotional disorders; Eating disorders