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Michael Lowe

Michael R. Lowe, PhD

Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
Office: Stratton 284
Phone: 215.553.7116

Additional Sites:

Lowe Lab


  • PhD, Psychology, Boston College, 1978

Curriculum Vitae:

Download (PDF)

Research Interests:

  • Restrained eating and dieting
  • Biobehavioral models of obesity
  • Influence of weight history on eating disorders
  • Weight variability as a predictor of weight gain
  • Hedonic hunger/Power of Food Scale


Michael R. Lowe, PhD, is a Professor of clinical psychology at Drexel University. Professor Lowe has served as a long-term research consultant to Weight Watchers and to the Renfrew Center for eating disorders. He is the author of an influential review paper that makes a sharp distinction between restrained eating and dieting to lose weight. He conducts NIH-funded research on the origins of, and treatments for, eating disorders and obesity, and pioneered the study of hedonic hunger, weight suppression and weight variability.

Lowe developed the Power of Food Scale, which has been used in hundreds of studies around the world, and by Weight Watchers, Pfizer and Eli Lilly in their treatment development trials. In his teaching and research mentorship, he encourages students to not only learn the material but to also question it as part of the process of developing their own perspective. He has recently developed a model suggesting that genetic and environmental determinants of obesity and eating disorders, along with the effects of these conditions on the brain and body, undermines the ability of self-regulation treatments to improve these conditions.

Selected Publications:

Chen, J. Y., Piers, A. D., Lesser, E. L., & Lowe, M. R. (2022). The effect of weight suppression on eating behavior: Does the intentionality of weight loss matter?. Appetite174, 106017

Lowe, M. R., Benson, L., & Zhang, F. (2021). Greater within‐person weight variability during infancy predicts future increases in z‐BMI. Obesity29(10), 1684-1688

Chen, J. Y., Singh, S., & Lowe, M. R. (2021). The food restriction wars: Proposed resolution of a primary battle. Physiology & Behavior, 113530.

Singh S, Apple DE, Zhang F, Niu X, & Lowe MR. (2021). A new, developmentally sensitive measure of weight suppression. Appetite. 

Thompson-Brenner, H., Singh, S., Gardner, T., Brooks, G. E., Smith, M. T., Lowe, M. R., &   Boswell, J. F. (2021). The Renfrew Unified Treatment for eating disorders and comorbidity: Long-term effects of an evidence-based practice implementation in residential treatment. Frontiers in Psychiatry12, 226.

Benson, Leora, et al. Weight variability during self-monitored weight loss predicts future weight loss outcome. International Journal of Obesity (2020): 1-8.

Lowe, M. R., Marmorstein, N., Iacono, W., Rosenbaum, D., Espel-Huynh, H., Muratore, A. F., ... &  Zhang, F. (2019). Body concerns and BMI as predictors of disordered eating and body mass in girls: An 18-year longitudinal investigation. Journal of Abnormal psychology128(1), 32.

Emily H. Feig, E.H., Piers, A.D., Kral, T.V.E. & Lowe, M.R. (2018).  Eating in the absence of hunger is related to loss-of-control eating, hedonic hunger, and short-term weight gain in normal- weight women.  Appetite.

Lowe, M.R., Butryn, M.L., & Zhang, Z.  (2018).  Evaluation of meal replacements and a home food environment intervention for long-term weight loss: A randomized controlled trial.  American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 107(1), 12-19.

Winter, S.R., Yokum, S., Stice, E., Osipowicz, K. & Lowe, M.R. (2017).  Elevated reward response to receipt of palatable food predicts future weight variability in healthy-weight adolescents. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 105(4), 781-789.