When not responding to food changes food value: The role of timing

Huaiyu Liu*, Rob W. Holland, Harm Veling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Establishing behavior change toward appetitive foods can be crucial to improve people's health. Food go/no-go training (GNG), in which people respond to some food items and not to other food items depending on the presentation of a go or no-go cue, is a means to establish behavior change. GNG changes the perceived value of food items and food consumption. After GNG, no-go items are rated as less attractive than go and/or untrained items, an empirical phenomenon called the NoGo-devaluation-effect. This effect is not always found, however. One theory-based explanation for these inconsistent results may be found in the timing of the go and no-go cues, which is also inconsistent across studies. Hence, in the present work we conducted two experiments to examine the possible role of go and no-go cue presentation timing in eliciting the NoGo-devaluation-effect. In Experiment 1, we presented the food items before the presentation of go/no-go cues, whereas we reversed this order in Experiment 2. As predicted, the NoGo-devaluation-effect was obtained in Experiment 1. This effect was absent in Experiment 2. Moreover, recognition memory for stimulus-action contingencies moderated the devaluation effect in Experiment 1, but not in Experiment 2. These results show that NoGo devaluation is dependent on the timing of the NoGo cue, which has theoretical and applied implications for understanding how and when go/no-go training influences food consumption. We propose that the value of food items is updated during go/no-go training to minimize prediction errors, and that this updating process is boosted by attention.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106583
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023


  • Bayesian statistics
  • Food behavior change
  • Go/no-go training
  • NoGo devaluation


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