Chocolate eating in healthy men during experimentally induced sadness and joy
Macht M, Roth S, Ellgring H.
Institute for Psychology (I),
University of Wurzburg, Germany.
Appetite. 2002 Oct;39(2):147-58


The study compared influences of qualitatively different emotions on eating. Motivation to eat, affective responses to chocolate and chewing of chocolate were investigated in healthy normal weight males during experimentally induced emotions. Subjects abstained from eating 2 h (n = 24) or 8 h (n = 24) before testing. They received pieces of chocolate after viewing film clips presented to induce anger, fear, sadness and joy. Motivation to eat and most affective responses to eating chocolate were higher after 8 h than after 2 h of deprivation. Sadness and joy affected motivation to eat in opposite directions: joy increased and sadness decreased appetite (p < 0.001). In joy, a higher tendency to eat more chocolate was reported (p < 0.001), and chocolate tasted more pleasant (p < 0.001) and was experienced as more "stimulating" than in sadness (p < 0.01). No effects of deprivation could be found for chewing time and number of chews. Results indicate that the quality of emotions can affect motivation to eat and affective responses to eating chocolate. Our findings on decreased eating responses to sadness in healthy males and the contradictory increased eating responses to sadness reported by others supports two types of emotion-induced changes of eating: emotion-congruent modulation of eating and eating to regulate emotions.

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