Tasting inhibition: A proof-of-concept study of the food stop-signal game

Hannah Kirsten*, Martin Dechant, Henning Gibbons, Maximilian Achim Friehs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Self-Control is an important skill in everyday life when attention is automatically drawn toward certain stimuli. For instance, food stimuli automatically capture visual attention and are processed preferentially. Therefore, efficient response inhibition is crucial to refrain from careless overeating. In the present proof-of-concept study we use a novel adaptation of a previously evaluated Stop-Signal Game (SSG) to measure reactive, food-specific, response inhibition in healthy adults. We analyzed a sample of 83 participants (60 female, mean age = 24.1, mean BMI = 21.71 kg/m2) split into three groups. In a gamified stop-signal task, participants navigated an avatar in an urban environment toward high-calorie food, low-calorie food, or non-food stimuli in go-trials and were asked to inhibit the approach reaction in stop-trials. Hunger, eating styles, food craving, and impulsivity were assessed via self-reports to investigate their relationship with (food-specific) response inhibition. Results showed that response inhibition (in terms of stop-signal reaction time, SSRT) did not differ between the high-calorie, low-calorie, and non-food SSG which might be explained by characteristics of the sample. However, impulsivity was positively correlated with SSRT in the low-calorie SSG, whereas food-craving and hunger were positively related to response inhibition in the high-calorie SSG. Future studies could build upon the food SSG to measure and train food-specific response inhibition in the treatment of overeating.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGame-Based Learning in Education and Health Part B
EditorsFlavia H. Santos
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780443223709
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2023

Publication series

NameProgress in Brain Research
ISSN (Print)0079-6123
ISSN (Electronic)1875-7855


  • Food
  • Food-craving
  • Hunger
  • Impulsivity
  • Response inhibition
  • Stop-signal game
  • NLA


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