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The Role of Reward Sensitivity and Impulsivity in Overeating and Food Addiction

Abstract

Purpose of Review

This paper reviews the contribution of individual differences in two personality traits linked to addiction and over-consumption—impulsivity and reward sensitivity—in the context of overeating and food addiction.

Recent Findings

There has been a rapid increase in the number of studies into overeating with a specific focus of late on food addiction. This review found trait impulsivity to be consistently associated with overeating and food addiction, while reward sensitivity has met with mixed results. While associated with overeating and food-cued cravings, reward sensitivity is less frequently associated with food addiction.

Summary

The inclusion of impulsivity-related traits has gathered momentum in recent years adding additional understanding of individual factors that play roles in overeating that may lead to more severe overeating and obesity. Greater research is now required to determine the processes by which trait impulsivity and reward sensitivity lead to overeating behaviours.

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Correspondence to Natalie J. Loxton.

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Loxton, N.J. The Role of Reward Sensitivity and Impulsivity in Overeating and Food Addiction. Curr Addict Rep 5, 212–222 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40429-018-0206-y

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Keywords

  • Reward
  • Impulsivity
  • Personality
  • Eating
  • Food addiction