Journal article Open Access
In a feasibility trial comparing two forms of combined inhibitory control training and goal planning (i.e., food-specific and general) among patients with bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED), we found evidence of symptomatic benefit, with stronger effects among participants receiving a food-specific intervention. The aim of the present study was to examine changes in behavioral outcomes and event-related potentials (ERPs; N2 and P3 amplitudes) from baseline to post-intervention that might suggest the mechanisms underpinning these effects. Fifty-five participants completed go/no-go tasks during two electroencephalography (EEG) sessions, at baseline and post-intervention. The go/no-go task included “go” cues to low energy-dense foods and non-foods, and “no-go” cues to high energy-dense foods and non-foods. Datasets with poor signal quality and/or outliers were excluded, leaving 48 participants (N = 24 BN; N = 24 BED) in the analyses. Participants allocated to the food-specific, compared to the general intervention group, showed significantly greater reductions in reaction time to low energy-dense foods, compared to non-foods, by post-intervention. Commission errors significantly increased from baseline to post-intervention, regardless of stimulus type (food vs. non-food) and intervention group (food-specific vs. general). There were no significant changes in omission errors. P3 amplitudes to “no-go” cues marginally, but non-significantly, decreased by post-intervention, but there was no significant interaction with stimulus type (high energy-dense food vs. non-food) or intervention group (food-specific vs. general). There were no significant changes in N2 amplitudes to “no-go” cues, N2 amplitudes to “go” cues, or P3 amplitudes to “go” cues from baseline to post-intervention. Training effects were only marginally captured by these event-related potentials. We discuss limitations to the task paradigm, including its two-choice nature, ease of completion, and validity, and give recommendations for future research exploring ERPs using inhibitory control paradigms.