Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2008

Thesis Advisor(s)

Diane M. Quinn

Honors Major



Political Science | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Food primes and thought suppression have been identified as factors influencing poor eating choices. Primes affect people non-consciously by activating thoughts of food. Suppression of food thoughts leads to a preoccupation with food that is often followed by a hyperaccessibility of food thoughts and increased binging. The current study paired these two processes to examine their interactional effects. We manipulated exposure to food primes and instructions to suppress thoughts of a tasty snack food (M&Ms) for 76 college-aged women. We hypothesized that participants both primed with food images and asked to suppress would consume the most M&Ms at the end of the study. Contrary to predictions, results showed no effects for the manipulations. Perceived weight category, however, did interact with the manipulations, with overweight participants eating more when they got either the food prime or the suppression (but not both together). These findings have important implications for weight-loss strategies.