Hyperphagia and the associated interest in food is a characteristic feature of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) that emerges during childhood and remains a life-long concern. This study examined neural responses reflecting food cue salience in children with PWS and typical controls, age 3-12 years. Visual event-related potentials were recorded while participants in satiated state passively viewed photographs of high-and low-calorie foods, animals, and neutral objects. Contrary to the prediction, children with PWS did not demonstrate greater than typical neural responses to food, suggesting that it is not an exceptionally motivationally salient stimulus in PWS. Caregiver reports of greater hyperphagia were associated with neural responses to low-calorie foods suggesting accelerated and more fine-grained visual stimulus categorization in terms of edibility and caloric content. Overall, the findings align more closely with the altered satiety rather than increased food reward models of hyperphagia in PWS. All rights reserved, Elsevier.

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