Ambivalence Toward Healthy And Unhealthy Food And Moderation By Individual Differences In Restrained Eating

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Food may be a particularly ambivalent stimulus, as it may be associated with high feelings of both positivity and negativity (objective ambivalence), in addition to feelings of conflict (subjective ambivalence). In this study we examine objective and subjective ambivalence toward healthy and unhealthy food, as well as nonfood objects. We show that food (particularly unhealthy food) images do elicit higher ambivalence than nonfood images, particularly due to increased negative feelings. Furthermore, individuals higher in eating restraint showed increased objective and subjective ambivalence to healthy food, suggesting that food may be a highly arousing, conflicting stimulus for constant dieters. Implications for treatment of eating disorders and for future research on food consumption are discussed.


Mixed feelings, Subjective ambivalence, Objective ambivalence, Positivity, Negativity, Dieters

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