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Watson P, Wiers RW, Hommel B, Gerdes VEA, de Wit S (2017) Stimulus control over action for food in obese versus healthy-weight individuals. Frontiers in Psychology, 8:580    
Our environment is full of cues signaling the availability of tasty, but often unhealthy, foods. This study suggests that severely obese individuals are particularly sensitive to high-calorie food cues whereas low-calorie food cues have little effect on their behavior
In the current study we examined an associative learning mechanism by which food cues (signaling low- versus high-calorie food) can bias instrumental responses directed toward those foods. To investigate the clinical relevance of this mechanism, we used a computerized Pavlovian-to-instrumental transfer task and compared performance of 19 severely obese individuals to that of 19 healthy-weight controls matched for age, education and gender. During the response-priming test we exposed participants to both food pictures and to Pavlovian cues predictive of those food pictures, and examined their biasing effect on instrumental choice. As expected, obese participants showed higher priming rates for palatable, high-calorie foods (potato chips and chocolate) relative to low-calorie foods (lettuce and courgette) whereas healthy-weight individuals did not show a difference between priming rates for these two food types. We also included various measures of impulsivity as well as a slips-of-action task designed to investigate the balance between goal-directed and habitual behavioral control in these two groups. We did not find any evidence of increased impulsivity or reliance on a habitual strategy during the slips-of-action task, in obese participants