Term of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Janice N Steirn

Committee Member 1

Karen Naufel

Committee Member 2

Ty W Boyer


It is hypothesized that impulsivity is influenced by the amount of inhibitory-control resource a person has, which is the ability to say no in the presence of some rewarding stimulus. There are inconsistent findings on whether impulsivity is related to body weight, with some of the literature suggesting that people who are overweight are more likely to be more impulsive and therefore have fewer inhibitory control resources. The phenomenon of inhibitory control has been examined in terms of whether these resources can be increased, which is supported through the ability to reduce the consumption of rewarding food, such as chocolate. I expanded this study by training inhibitory control resources across larger food groups, specifically healthy and unhealthy food stimuli. A go/no go task with healthy and unhealthy food images was presented and reaction time was recorded. Following the go/no go task, participants indicated how much they wanted to eat various healthy and unhealthy food stimuli, as well as how much they would be willing to spend on these stimuli. Trait impulsivity was assessed, and BMI was recorded. The results indicated that there was no difference among groups after inhibitory-control training and that BMI and impulsivity did not play a role in inhibitory control resources. There was a significant interaction between the novelty of stimuli on ratings and spending, which supports the theory of the mere-exposure effect. I surmise that inhibitory control training may be successful when training is focused on specific foods, rather than general classes of foods.

Research Data and Supplementary Material