The maintenance of behavioral change over the longterm is essential to achieve public health goals such as combatting obesity anddrug use. Previous work by our group has demonstrated a reliable shift inpreferences for appetitive foods following a novel non-reinforced trainingparadigm. In the current studies, we tested whether distributing trainingtrials over two consecutive days would affect preferences immediately aftertraining as well as over time at a one-month follow-up. In three studies, wefound that spacing of cue-approach training induced a shift in food choicepreferences over one month.
The spacing and massing schedule employed governedthe long-term changes in choice behavior. Applying spacing strategies totraining paradigms that target automatic processes could prove a useful toolfor the long-term maintenance of health improvement goals with the developmentof real-world behavioral change paradigms that incorporate distributed practiceprinciples.