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      Prefrontal brain stimulation during food-related inhibition training: effects on food craving, food consumption and inhibitory control


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          Modulation of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) activity using non-invasive brain stimulation has been shown to reduce food craving as well as food consumption. Using a preregistered design, we examined whether bilateral transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) of the DLPFC could reduce food craving and consumption in healthy participants when administered alongside the cognitive target of inhibitory control training. Participants ( N = 172) received either active or sham tDCS (2 mA; anode F4, cathode F3) while completing a food-related Go/No-Go task. State food craving, ad-lib food consumption and response inhibition were evaluated. Compared with sham stimulation, we found no evidence for an effect of active tDCS on any of these outcome measures in a predominantly female sample. Our findings raise doubts about the effectiveness of single-session tDCS on food craving and consumption. Consideration of individual differences, improvements in tDCS protocols and multi-session testing are discussed.

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          Most cited references 64

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          Self-control in decision-making involves modulation of the vmPFC valuation system.

          Every day, individuals make dozens of choices between an alternative with higher overall value and a more tempting but ultimately inferior option. Optimal decision-making requires self-control. We propose two hypotheses about the neurobiology of self-control: (i) Goal-directed decisions have their basis in a common value signal encoded in ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), and (ii) exercising self-control involves the modulation of this value signal by dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC). We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to monitor brain activity while dieters engaged in real decisions about food consumption. Activity in vmPFC was correlated with goal values regardless of the amount of self-control. It incorporated both taste and health in self-controllers but only taste in non-self-controllers. Activity in DLPFC increased when subjects exercised self-control and correlated with activity in vmPFC.
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            High self-control predicts good adjustment, less pathology, better grades, and interpersonal success.

            What good is self-control? We incorporated a new measure of individual differences in self-control into two large investigations of a broad spectrum of behaviors. The new scale showed good internal consistency and retest reliability. Higher scores on self-control correlated with a higher grade point average, better adjustment (fewer reports of psychopathology, higher self-esteem), less binge eating and alcohol abuse, better relationships and interpersonal skills, secure attachment, and more optimal emotional responses. Tests for curvilinearity failed to indicate any drawbacks of so-called overcontrol, and the positive effects remained after controlling for social desirability. Low self-control is thus a significant risk factor for a broad range of personal and interpersonal problems.
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              Anxiety-related attentional biases and their regulation by attentional control.

              This study examined the role of self-reported attentional control in regulating attentional biases related to trait anxiety. Simple detection targets were preceded by cues labeling potential target locations as threatening (likely to result in negative feedback) or safe (likely to result in positive feedback). Trait anxious participants showed an early attentional bias favoring the threatening location 250 ms after the cue and a late bias favoring the safe location 500 ms after the cue. The anxiety-related threat bias was moderated by attentional control at the 500-ms delay: Anxious participants with poor attentional control still showed the threat bias, whereas those with good control were better able to shift from the threatening location. Thus, skilled control of voluntary attention may allow anxious persons to limit the impact of threatening information.

                Author and article information

                R Soc Open Sci
                R Soc Open Sci
                Royal Society Open Science
                The Royal Society Publishing
                January 2019
                9 January 2019
                9 January 2019
                : 6
                : 1
                [1 ]Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC), School of Psychology, Cardiff University , Cardiff CF24 4HQ, UK
                [2 ]School of Psychology, University of Exeter , Washington Singer Building, Exeter EX4 4QG, UK
                [3 ]Department of Experimental Psychology, Ghent University , Henri Dunantlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
                Author notes
                Author for correspondence: Jemma Sedgmond e-mail: sedgmondj@ 123456cardiff.ac.uk
                Author for correspondence: Christopher D. Chambers e-mail: chambersc1@ 123456cardiff.ac.uk
                Author for correspondence: Rachel C. Adams e-mail: adamsrc1@ 123456cardiff.ac.uk

                Electronic supplementary material is available online at https://dx.doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4330979.

                © 2019 The Authors.

                Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Funded by: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100000268;
                Award ID: BB/K008277/1
                Funded by: Wellcome Trust Institutional Strategic Support Fund;
                Funded by: European research council;
                Award ID: Consolidator 647893
                Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                January, 2019


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