A psychological theory proposing that obese people are more responsive to external cues, such as the presence of food or time of day, whereas nonobese people use more internal cues, such as hunger, to guide eating. According to this theory, obese people confronted with an array of palatable-looking foods respond more readily to partaking of these foods and eat more than the nonobese, especially if the food is tasty and tempting. This responsiveness, however, may be related to habits of dieting that obese people develop, either continual on-and-off dieting or refraining entirely from dieting.
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