Learning and Memory Processes and Their Role in Eating: Implications for Limiting Food Intake in Overeaters

Suzanne Higgs*, Eric Robinson, Michelle Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding the role of psychological factors involved in overeating is critical if we are to develop effective interventions to curb the rise of obesity that is associated with the modern food environment. Here we review recent experimental research on the role of cognitive processes such as learning and memory in eating behavior. From habituation to learning to associate the rewarding consequences of ingestion with food cues, we contemplate how learning about food has been influenced by the changing food environment. We also consider how learning and memory processes interact with satiety processes and how higher-level cognitive systems modulate responses to food cues. Finally, what we remember about eating episodes affects later eating. Encoding information about meals and snacks allows us to take into account recent energy intake and food enjoyment during later eating events. We suggest that interventions that encourage attentive eating might prove fruitful in helping appetite control.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-98
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Obesity Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Episodic memory
  • Habitation
  • Learned satiety
  • Memory processes
  • Obesity
  • Overeating
  • Remembered liking
  • Reward

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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