Covert sensitization (CS) was compared to an attention-placebo group and a no treatment control group in a controlled outcome study with obese college students as subjects. In addition to weight loss, the dependent measures included quantity of food consumed in an analogue eating situation, and a salivary response measure of the palatability of the target food. The results showed no differential effect among the three treatment groups on any of these three objective behavioral measures. However, both CS and attention-placebo groups reported significantly greater treatment-produced negative subjective reactions to the taste and odor of the target food than the no treatment control group. These findings seriously call into question the purported efficacy of CS as an aversive conditioning technique.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology