High-Level Executive Functions: A Possible Role of Sexand Weight Condition in Planning and Decision-Making Performances

Francesca Favieri, Giuseppe Forte, Mariella Pazzaglia, Eunice Y. Chen, Maria Casagrande

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Evidence indicates an association between executive functioning and increased weight, with different patterns ascribed to individual differences (sex, age, lifestyles). This study reports on the relationship between high-level executive functions and body weight. Sixty-five young adults participated in the study: 29 participants (14 males, 15 females) in the normal weight range; 36 participants (18 males, 18 females) in the overweight range. The Iowa Gambling Task (IGT) and Tower of London Task were administered to assess decision making and planning. Planning did not differ in individuals in the normal-weight and overweight groups, and no difference emerged between females and males. However, normal and overweight males and females had different patterns in decision making. On the long-term consequences index of the IGT, females reported lower scores than males. Males in the overweight range had a lower long-term consequences index on the IGT than normal-weight males, while this pattern did not emerge in females. These findings suggest that decision-making responses may differ in the overweight relative to healthy weight condition, with a different expression in males and females. This pattern should be considered in weight loss prevention strategies, possibly adopting different approaches in males and females.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Decision making
  • Executive functions
  • Gender differences
  • Planning
  • Weight condition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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