Stop-signal Task Training Improves Inhibitory Control but Does not Change Eating Behaviour Outside the Laboratory


  • V. Allom
  • B. Mullan


Background: Stop-Signal Task (SST) training to improve inhibitory control can improve eating behaviour in the laboratory. However, these findings have not been replicated using externally valid measures, nor has the longevity of these effects been assessed. Methods: Seventy-one participants completed baseline, post-intervention and follow-up measures of inhibitory control, fat intake and body-mass index (BMI). Participants were randomly assigned to complete one of three SST daily for ten days: In group one participants inhibited their response to unhealthy food stimuli only, in group two participants inhibited their responses regardless of the stimuli. Group three was the control. Results: Neither fat intake nor BMI decreased post-intervention or at follow-up. Inhibitory control improved in both training conditions post-intervention (p < .01; partial eta2 = .427) but these effects were not maintained at follow-up. Discussion: It appears that SST training does not generalise to everyday eating behaviour and improvements in inhibitory control may not be long lasting. SST training may not be sufficient as a stand-alone behaviour change technique to change eating behaviour.






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