Effect of metabolic state on implicit and explicit responses to food in young healthy females

Kristiina Juvonen, Anja Lapveteläinen, Johanna Närväinen, Pilvikki Absetz, Teuvo Kantanen, Marjukka Kolehmainen, Sanna Sinikallio, Jussi Pihlajamäki, Leila Karhunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Recent neuroscience research has delineated key psychological components of reward: wanting, liking and learning. Each component is further divided into explicit and implicit processes. While explicit processes are consciously experienced, implicit processes are not always directly accessible to conscious inspection. In the present study, we investigated the effect of metabolic state on implicit and explicit responses and their relationship in food context, especially when foods and visually matched non-food items are contrasted, and when foods in a sole food context but differing in energy content (high-energy - low-energy) or taste (sweet - savoury) were contrasted. Sixty healthy non-obese females participated in the study in fasted and fed states. Three Implicit Association Tests were used to assess implicit associations. Explicit liking and wanting ratings were assessed by visual analogue scales. In the implicit food–non-food context, food was preferred over non-food items both in fasted and fed states, though the strength of implicit associations declined significantly from fasted to fed state. However, the direction or strength of implicit associations was not significantly different between the metabolic states when comparing concepts within food context only, differing in energy content or taste. Instead, explicit responses reflected the change in the metabolic state in a manner consistent with alliesthesia and sensory-specific satiety. The results of the present study suggest that implicit associations are relatively resistant to acute change in the metabolic condition compared to explicit ratings, which shift more readily according to the fasted-fed continuum. The shift in the prevailing metabolic state was, however, reflected in the strength of implicit responses towards food in relation to non-food items, yet in the sole food contexts implicit associations were comparable between the fasted and fed states.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104593
Early online date13 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Explicit responses
  • Food
  • Implicit association test
  • Implicit associations
  • Metabolic state


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