Cognitive Function and Eating Behavior in Young Women

by Jenna Mallon (’18)

Eating .jpg
Fig. 1: Cognitive functions play a large role in a person’s eating habits.

Eating behavior, what you eat and how often you eat, plays a large role in your health, and many cognitive factors play a role in a person’s eating habits. Effortful control, the ability to inhibit a dominate response, and working memory, the ability to apply short-term memories to goal-oriented tasks, both play a role in how well a person can manage his eating behavior.

Katsumasa Momoi, from the Graduate School of Human Development and Environment at Kobe University, and a team of researchers used female young adults to study this relationship. 26 female Japanese university students between 20 and 22 years old completed an anonymous questionnaire that was designed to determine the relationship between eating behavior and cognitive function. The questionnaire contained parts of the ECS from the Adult Temperament Questionnaire, the Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire, and the Stroop task.

Using statistical analysis, the team was able to determine that activation control had a positive correlation with restrained eating, while inhibitory control had a negative correlation with emotional eating. External eating was negatively correlated with all of the factors (inhibitory control, activation control, and attentional control). Overall, the study was able to conclude that controlled or restrained eating is associated with different cognitive functions than are both emotional and external eating.



  1. Momoi, et al., Relationship among eating behavior, effortful control, and working memory in female young adults. Health, 8 1187-1194 (2016). doi: 10.4236/health.2016.812122.
  2. Image retrieved from:

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