Restraint Over Wanting – The Science

Here, in section 1 and 2 of this paper, is a good summary of dual system theory or the dual process theory, which is the prevailing model of human thinking. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow Daniel Kahneman made dual-system theory accessible to people outside cognitive psychology. Human cognition is described to be governed by two systems: system 1 for fast, intuitive, and effortless thinking (permission thinking), and system 2 for slower, analytic (restraint) thinking that requires greater cognitive effort.

Here, Rena Wing and James Hill, in a study of brain responses to food consumption, describe cognitive restraint as the “central behavioural attribute of those that sustainably lose weight.”

Here, Alain Dagher looked at Functional MRI in individuals who undertook a weight-loss regimen. He found a “Neural Signature of successful wight loss” the best predictor of success was activation in prefrontal cortex (sleepy executive) during the regime.

Here, Cassandra Lowe and Amy Reichelt describe the potential relationship between the pre-frontal cortex and obesity. Specifically, how this relationship can be viewed as a predictor, a mediator, moderator, or outcome of obesity. They describe that weaker restraint increases the likelihood of consumption of modern foods.

Here, Evan Forman describes how the addition of “metacognitive awareness” too standard behavioural therapy improves outcomes in a year-long behavioural acceptance and commitment based weight management trial.

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