Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD)

Degree Level



Psychological Science


Jennifer Veilleux

Committee Member

Lindsay Ham

Second Committee Member

Scott Eidelman


Attention, Attentional Bias, Eating


Prior research regarding attentional biases, or patterns of visual attention, have focused on attention over the initial second when exposed to pictoral food stimuli. This manuscript reviews the literature regarding attentional biases in overweight/obese individuals over this timeframe for the two previously defined components of attentional bias (attentional orientation and attentional maintenance). A new component is proposed, called “attentional re-engagement,” defined as the pattern of attentional shifts towards target stimulus types over longer periods of time. Overweight/Obese and Normal-weighted participants were recruited and engaged in an Extended Dot Probe task, wherein attentional orientation, maintenance, and re-engagement were assessed using the traditional dot-probe method, while long-term attentional re-engagement measures were also assessed via participant responses during long duration trials (15000ms). Participants also engaged in an eating task. The weight groups did not differ on attentional orientation, attentional maintenance, or any eating measure. Most participants experienced several attentional shifts in the long duration trials, but a small subset experienced very few attentional shifts. Within the majority of participants whose attention did shift in long duration trials, weight groups differed on the amount of attention directed to food images. This long-term attention to food images was also predictive of eating outcome in these individuals, suggesting that attentional re-engagement may be an unexplored component of attentional bias.