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Measuring food-related attentional bias


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Franja, S, McCrae, AE, Jahnel, T ORCID: 0000-0002-8367-4574, Gearhardt, AN and Ferguson, S ORCID: 0000-0001-7378-3497 2021 , 'Measuring food-related attentional bias' , Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 12 , pp. 1-8 , doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.629115.

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Objective: Food-related attentional bias has been defined as the tendency to givepreferential attention to food-related stimuli. Attentional bias is of interest as studies havefound that increased attentional bias is associated with obesity; others, however, havenot. A possible reason for mixed results may be that there is no agreed upon measureof attentional bias: studies differ in both measurement and scoring of attentional bias.Additionally, little is known about the stability of attentional bias over time. The presentstudy aims to compare attentional bias measures generated from commonly usedattentional bias tasks and scoring protocols, and to test re-test reliability.Methods: As part of a larger study, 69 participants (67% female) completed two food-related visual probe tasks at baseline: lexical (words as stimuli), and pictorial (picturesas stimuli). Reaction time bias scores (attentional bias scores) for each task werecalculated in three different ways: by subtracting the reaction times for the trials whereprobes replaced (1) neutral stimuli from the trials where the probes replaced all foodstimuli, (2) neutral stimuli from the trials where probes replaced high caloric food stimuli,and (3) neutral stimuli from low caloric food stimuli. This resulted in three separateattentional bias scores for each task. These reaction time results were then correlated.The pictorial visual probe task was administered a second time 14-days later to assesstest-retest reliability.Results: Regardless of the scoring use, lexical attentional bias scores were minimal,suggesting minimal attentional bias. Pictorial task attentional bias scores were larger,suggesting greater attentional bias. The correlation between the various scores wasrelatively small (r= 0.13–0.20). Similarly, test-retest reliability for the pictorial task waspoor regardless of how the test was scored (r = 0.20–0.41).Conclusion: These results suggest that at least some of the variation in findingsacross attentional bias studies could be due to differences in the way that attentionalbias is measured. Future research may benefit from either combining eye-trackingmeasurements in addition to reaction times.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Franja, S and McCrae, AE and Jahnel, T and Gearhardt, AN and Ferguson, S
Keywords: obesity, attentional bias, measurement, visual probe, lexical, reaction time, reliability, pictorial
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Psychology
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 1664-1078
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.629115
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2021 Franja, McCrae, Jahnel, Gearhardt and Ferguson. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

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