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Mary Boggiano, PhD

Mary Boggiano, PhD Associate Professor
Department of Psychology

Campbell Hall 325
Office Phone: (205) 996-4562 
Fax: (205) 975 6110 
Full CV


  • BA, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • MA, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • PhD, University of Texas at El Paso, Psychology
  • Postdoc, University of Cincinnati Medical College

Research Interests:

Psychobiology, motivation, eating disorders and obesity

Past areas of research included the development of animal models of binge-eating (e.g., Stress + Dieting model) and models showing the independence of binge-eating and obesity (e.g., Binge-eating Prone vs. Resistant or “BEP/BER” model). Drug, HPLC, and RIA studies implicated sensitization of mu-opioid receptors, dysregulation of mesolimibic monoamine release, and increased cortisol as mechanisms underlying binge-eating. Other systems studied are the role of central PYY and the melanocortin system in eating behavior. Novel behavioral methods included use or increasing levels of foot shock to test the motivation of rats for palatable food and a Pavlovian model of conditioned overeating. Her animal models of binge-eating and obesity are still in use in academic and industry labs to gain a better understanding of the physiology of binge-eating disorders and obesity and to test the efficacy of new drugs for these conditions.

Her current research is focused solely on human subjects and includes 1) continued validation and use of the Palatable Eating Motives Scale (PEMS) which was developed in her lab to predict BMI, binge-eating, suggestibility, response to new interventions and open-label placebo for weight loss; 2) testing the effect of “Gut-Cued Eating”, a weight-loss method designed in her lab, to reduce body weight in young adults; 3) testing the effect of non-deceptive placebo pills in overweight and obesity, and 4) using psychophysiological responses to craving tests to predict percent of weight-loss with the above strategies. Future studies will aim to identify behavioral and neural correlates of successful weight loss with these strategies over time.  

Published on May 28, 2010
Food and Addiction: Stress Opioids and Binge-Eating in Rats


Selected Publications:

Hagan is former name; *Trainee in my lab. For a full publication list please email:

  • Hagan, M.M., Rushing, P.A., Pritchard, L. M. Schwartz, M. W., Strack, A., Vander Ploeg, L., Woods, S.C. & Seeley, R. J. (2000). Long-term orexigenic effects of agouti related peptide (83-132) involve mechanisms other than melanocortin receptor blockade. American Journal of Physiology, 279(1), R47-R52.
  • Hagan, M.M., Wauford, P. K., Chandler, P. C., Jarrett, L. A., Rybak, R. J., & Blackburn, K. (2002). A new animal model of binge eating: key synergistic role of past caloric restriction and stress. Physiology & Behavior, 77(1), 45-54. Selected for commentary.
  • Tschop, M., Castaneda, T. R., Joost, H. G., Thone-Reineke, C., Ortmann, S., Klaus, S., Hagan, M.M., et al. (2004). Physiology: does gut hormone PYY3-36 decrease food intake in rodents? Nature, 430(6996), 1-2 following 165.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Chandler, P. C., Viana, J. B., Oswald, K. D., Maldonado, C. R., & Wauford, P. K. (2005). Combined dieting and stress evoke exaggerated responses to opioids in binge-eating rats. Behavioral Neuroscience, 119(5), 1207-1214.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Artiga, A. I., Pritchett, C. E., Chandler, P.C., Smith, M. L., & Eldridge, A. J. (2007). High intake of palatable food predicts binge-eating characteristics independent of susceptibility to obesity: An animal model of lean vs. obese binge eating and obesity with and without binge-eating. International Journal of Obesity, 31(9), 1357-1367.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Dorsey, J., Thomas, J. M., & Murdaugh, D. (2009). The Pavlovian power of palatable food: lessons for weight-loss adherence from a new rodent model of cue-induced overeating. International Journal of Obesity, 33(6), 693-701. PMC2697275.
  • Boggiano, M. M., Turan, B., Maldonado, C.R., Oswald, K.D. & Shuman, E.J. (2013). Secretive food concocting in binge-eating: Test of a famine hypothesis. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46, 212–225.    
  • Boggiano, M.M., Wenger, L.E., Turan, B., Tatum, M.M., Sylvester, M.D., Morgan, P.R. & Burgess, E.E. (2015). Real-time sampling of reasons for hedonic food consumption: further validation of the Palatable Eating Motives Scale. Frontiers in Psychology-Eating Behavior, 6744.
  • *Burgess, E.E., Sylvester, M.D., Morse, K.E., Amthor, F.R., Mrug, S., Lokken, K., Osborn, M.K., Soleymani, T. and Boggiano, M.M. (2016) Effect of transcranial direct stimulation (tDCS) on binge eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 49: 930-936. PMID: 27159906.
  • Boggiano, M.M., Wenger, L.E., Burgess, E.E., Tatum, M.M., Sylvester, M.D. Morgan, P.R. and Morse, K.E.  (2017). Eating tasty foods to cope, enhance reward, socialize or  conform: What other psychological characteristics describe each of these motives? Journal of Health Psychology, 22: 280-289.
  • *Sylvester, M.D., Burgess, E.E., Soleymani, T., Daniel, S., Turan, B., Ray, M.K., Howard, C.T. and Boggiano, M.M.  (2019). Baseline motives for eating palatable food: Racial  differences and preliminary utility in predicting weight loss. Eating and Weight Disorders, 24:723-729.
  • *Ray, M.K., Sylvester, D.M., Helton, A., Pittman, B., Wagstaff, L., McRae, T., Turan, B., Fontaine, K.R., Amthor, F.R. & Boggiano, M.M. (2019) Stimulation or suggestion? The effect of expectation on transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) outcomes. Appetite, 136, 1-7.