The neurobiological basis of executive function alterations in binge eating populations

Trevor Steward, Laura A. Berner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Binge eating episodes are defined by the consumption of large amounts of food over a short period of time accompanied by feelings of loss of control, and in many cases, remorse, embarrassment, and disgust. Binge eating is a key feature of bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and anorexia nervosa binge eating/purging subtype, yet our understanding of the neurobiological substrates of this maladaptive behavior is still in nascent stages. The current chapter provides an overview of behavioral and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies of executive dysfunction in eating disorder populations with binge eating. Overall, evidence suggests that alterations in cognitive interference control, response inhibition, delay discounting, set-shifting, and decision-making may make it difficult for individuals to control and adjust their food intake thereby contributing to the etiology and/or maintenance of binge eating. We conclude by covering limitations in the existing literature on this topic and propose new lines of research to address gaps in our knowledge of executive functions in individuals who binge eat.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBinge Eating
Subtitle of host publicationA Transdiagnostic Psychopathology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783030435622
ISBN (Print)9783030435615
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Binge eating
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Cognitive interference
  • Decision-making
  • Delay discounting
  • Executive function
  • Fmri
  • Neuroimaging
  • Neuropsychology
  • Response inhibition
  • Set-shifting


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