Mood Mediates the Effect of Caloric Deprivation on Executive Functions – Evidence from the Stroop Task

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Authors
  1. Vartanian, O.
  2. Blackler, K.
  3. Lieberman, H.R.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN)
Abstract
Considerable empirical evidence suggests that lower levels of glucose impair performance on tests of executive functions. The mechanism advanced to explain this effect involves self-control—one’s ability to control or override cognitive and behavioral tendencies to attain a goal. However, research has also shown that caloric deprivation impairs mood. We used a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover design to test the hypothesis that the effect of caloric deprivation on executive functions is mediated by mood. As predicted, caloric deprivation reduced interstitial glucose levels and impaired mood, and it was associated with more errors on incongruent than congruent trials of the Stroop task. Critically, mood fully mediated the effect of caloric deprivation on performance on incongruent trials. Our results are consistent with previous findings showing that positive affect can help improve self-regulation following ego depletion, and suggest mood as a mechanism whereby caloric deprivation can impair executive functions.

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Keywords
Glucose;Nutrition;Executive Functions;Mood
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2017-R021 — Scientific Report
Date of publication
01 Feb 2017
Number of Pages
18
DSTKIM No
CA044552
CANDIS No
805135
Format(s):
Electronic Document(PDF)

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