Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Hugh Garavan


Eating unhealthy foods and eating past satiety are inappropriate behaviors that promote obesity. The ability to effectively inhibit an inappropriate behavior is a key component of cognitive restraint and its impairment has been previously linked to obesity. In this study, a Go/No-Go fMRI task was completed by a cohort of adult women that had experienced initial weight loss followed by various levels of weight regain or continued weight loss. Region of interest fMRI analysis revealed that greater total weight loss was significantly related to decreasing activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus and the right superior frontal gyrus. These results suggest that as weight loss increases fewer cognitive resources are needed in order to maintain levels of inhibitory control. This cognitive efficiency, though only partially supported by better task performance, is supported by greater exercise. An analysis of resting state patterns of correlation between task-activated regions revealed a significant correlation between the right inferior frontal gyrus and the left middle temporal gyrus. The strength of this relationship was significantly correlated with increasing total weight loss and continued weight loss over time. Cognitive restraint was also associated with this fronto-temporal correlation and provides support for cognitive efficiency. Right inferior frontal gyrus was also correlated with left inferior frontal gyrus and this relationship was positively correlated with initial weight loss suggesting that fewer neurocognitive resources were required by those who were able to achieve greater initial weight loss.



Number of Pages

71 p.

Included in

Neurosciences Commons