Spacing of cue-approach training leads to better maintenance of behavioral change

Akram Bakkour*, Rotem Botvinik-Nezer, Neta Cohen, Ashleigh M. Hover, Russell A. Poldrack, Tom Schonberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The maintenance of behavioral change over the long term is essential to achieve public health goals such as combatting obesity and drug use. Previous work by our group has demonstrated a reliable shift in preferences for appetitive foods following a novel non-reinforced training paradigm. In the current studies, we tested whether distributing training trials over two consecutive days would affect preferences immediately after training as well as over time at a one-month follow-up. In four studies, three different designs and an additional pre-registered replication of one sample, we found that spacing of cue-approach training induced a shift in food choice preferences over one month. The spacing and massing schedule employed governed the long-term changes in choice behavior. Applying spacing strategies to training paradigms that target automatic processes could prove a useful tool for the long-term maintenance of health improvement goals with the development of real-world behavioral change paradigms that incorporate distributed practice principles.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0201580
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018


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