Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Applied Biopsychology



Major Professor

Connie Lamm

Second Advisor

Laura Scaramella

Third Advisor

Robert Laird


This study examined how attentional sub-processes contribute to binge-eating. Dense-array EEG and a version of the canonical attentional blink task were used to ascertain the neural correlates underlying the attentional sub-processes that comprise the Posner model of attention (alerting, orienting, and executive control) and how attentional activation differs for binge-eaters vs. non-binge eaters. Furthermore, we examined a number of the event-related potentials (ERP), including P2 activation, which has been linked with orientating of attention, and N2 activation which has been linked with attentional conflict. We found decreased P2 activation for binge-eaters, in the negative condition, for incorrect target 2 (T2) detection trials. We also found more N2 activation for binge-eaters than non-binge eaters, in negative trials when T2 was not detected. This pattern of results suggest that binge-eaters showed deficiencies in allocating attention to stimuli that followed negative images; this attention deficiency may be a key factor for binge-eating behavior.


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