The evidential value of research on cognitive training to change food-related biases and unhealthy eating behavior: A systematic review and p-curve analysis

Juan F. Navas, Antonio Verdejo-García, Miguel A. Vadillo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Cognitive bias modification (CBM), which retrains implicit biases towards unhealthy foods, has been proposed as a promising adjunct to improve the efficacy of weight loss interventions. We conducted a systematic review of research on three CBM approaches (i.e., cue-specific inhibitory control, approach bias modification, and attentional bias modification) for reducing unhealthy eating biases and behavior. We performed a p-curve analysis to determine the evidential value of this research; this method is optimally suited to clarify whether published results reflect true effects or false positives due to publication and reporting biases. When considering all CBM approaches, our results suggested that the findings of CBM trials targeting unhealthy eating are unlikely to be false positives. However, only research on attentional bias modification reached acceptable levels of power. These results suggest that CBM interventions may be an effective strategy to enhance the efficacy of weight loss interventions. However, there is room for improvement in the methodological standards of this area of research, especially increasing the statistical power can help to fully clarify the clinical potential of CBM, and determine the role of potential moderators.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13338
Number of pages12
JournalObesity Reviews
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • cognitive training
  • obesity
  • p-curve analysis
  • systematic review

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