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      Food & Mood: Explorations in Technological Intervention

      1 , 2 , 1 , 3 , 1

      The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction (HCI)

      Human Computer Interaction

      12 - 14 September 2012

      affect, emotional eating, behaviour change, intervention

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          Over-eating is often the result of consuming food for reasons other than needing fuel and nutrients: we eat for pleasure, from habit, for emotional support. Such non-homeostatic eating is an established contributor to overeating towards overweight or obese weight gain that in turn is correlated with numerous non-communicable diseases such as Type II Diabetes Miletus. Traditionally, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and interpersonal Therapy (IPT) approaches help people develop strategies to change these eating responses, but they rely on a person deliberately reaching for those strategies: there has not been a way to provide just-in-time support: emotional eating experience triggers may not happen on a schedule. Our approach is to explore whether and how persistent sensor data may help us determine moments appropriate for intervention.

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          Most cited references 6

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          The emotion probe. Studies of motivation and attention.

           P J Lang (1995)
          Emotions are action dispositions--states of vigilant readiness that vary widely in reported affect, physiology, and behavior. They are driven, however, by only 2 opponent motivational systems, appetitive and aversive--subcortical circuits that mediate reactions to primary reinforcers. Using a large emotional picture library, reliable affective psychophysiologies are shown, defined by the judged valence (appetitive/pleasant or aversive/unpleasant) and arousal of picture percepts. Picture-evoked affects also modulate responses to independently presented startle probe stimuli. In other words, they potentiate startle reflexes during unpleasant pictures and inhibit them during pleasant pictures, and both effects are augmented by high picture arousal. Implications are elucidated for research in basic emotions, psychopathology, and theories of orienting and defense. Conclusions highlight both the approach's constraints and promising paths for future study.
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            On-Body Sensing Solutions for Automatic Dietary Monitoring

             G Tröster,  O Amft (2009)
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              Food cravings and energy regulation: the characteristics of craved foods and their relationship with eating behaviors and weight change during 6 months of dietary energy restriction.

              To examine characteristics of craved foods in relation to dietary energy restriction (ER) with high (HG) and low glycemic load (LG) diets. Assessments of food cravings before and during a randomized controlled trial of HG and LG diets provided for 6 months. Thirty-two healthy, overweight women aged 20-42 years. Self-reported food cravings and dietary intake, body weight, weight history and measures of eating behaviors. Foods craved at baseline were more than twice as high in energy density as the habitual diet (3.7+/-1.5 vs 1.7+/-0.3 kcal/g; P<0.001), and on average were lower in protein (P<0.001) and fiber (P<0.001) and higher in fat (P=0.002). There were no statistically significant changes in nutritional characteristics of craved foods after 6 months of ER. There was a significant relationship between reported portion size of craved food consumed at baseline and lifetime high body mass index (r=0.49, P=0.005). Additionally, there was a significant association between susceptibility to hunger and craving frequency at baseline, and there were significant relationships between hunger score, craving frequency, strength and percentage of time that cravings are given in to after 6 months of ER. In multiple regression models, subjects who lost a greater percentage of weight craved higher energy-dense foods at month 6 of ER, but also reported giving in to food cravings less frequently (adjusted R (2)=0.31, P=0.009). High energy density and fat content, and low protein and fiber contents were identifying characteristics of craved foods. The relationships between craving variables and hunger score suggest that the relative influence of hunger susceptibility on cravings may be important before and especially after ER. Portion size of craved foods and frequency of giving in to food cravings appear to be important areas for focus in lifestyle modification programs for long-term weight loss.

                Author and article information

                September 2012
                September 2012
                : 1-4
                [ 1 ]Microsoft Research, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, USA
                [ 2 ]College of Computing & Informatics, UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd, Charlotte, USA
                [ 3 ]Electronics and Computer Science, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
                © Erin Carroll et al. Published by BCS Learning and Development Ltd. The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction, Birmingham, UK

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit

                The 26th BCS Conference on Human Computer Interaction
                Birmingham, UK
                12 - 14 September 2012
                Electronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
                Human Computer Interaction
                Product Information: 1477-9358BCS Learning & Development
                Self URI (journal page):
                Electronic Workshops in Computing


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