The role of Metacognition in eating behavior: an exploratory study

Maria C. Quattropani, Vittorio Lenzo, Cristina Faraone, Giovanna Pistorino, Ilaria Di Bella, Massimo Mucciardi


In the occidental world, feeding is not only a physiological need but it may become a compulsive behavior. In fact, the tendency to instant gratification may represent a way to escape from unpleasant moods and may lead to addictive behaviors. In this process, Metacognitions, defined as internal cognitive factors that control, monitor and evaluate thinking processes, have a central role.

The aim of our study was to investigate the relationship between eating behavior, psychological needs and metacognitive processes. We evaluated 44 adults using the following instruments: Eating Disorders Inventory III (EDI-III), Metacognition Questionnaire 30 (MCQ-30) and Frontal Lobe Score.

Data analysis was performed using SPSS for Windows applying correlational analysis (Spearman’s Rho). We found that negative beliefs about worry concerning uncontrollability and danger were positive correlated with general psychological maladjustment composite (0.61 p<.01). In particular negative beliefs were positive correlated with specific subscales, such as personal alienation (0.57 p<.01) and emotional dysregulation (0.51 p<.01).

Results confirmed the importance to explore metacognitive processes and to understand their role in emotional regulation, especially in overweight/obese subjects. Furthermore, we aim to examine the role of cognitive functions in eating behavior.


Metacognition; Obesity; Neuropsychology; Eating Behavior

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