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1. Revision guide for eating behaviourWHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE EXAM:-Topic1 (Eating behaviour) Factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behaviour such as…
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  • 1. Revision guide for eating behaviourWHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR THE EXAM:-Topic1 (Eating behaviour) Factors influencing attitudes to food and eating behaviour such as culture, health and mood (describe and evaluate the research) Explanations for the success and failure of dieting (describe and evaluate the research)Topic 2 (Biological explanations of eating behaviour) The role of neural mechanisms involved in eating and satiety (Describe and evaluate biological explanations of eating and satiety) Evolutionary explanations of food preference (describe and evaluate)Topic 3 (eating disorders) Psychological explanations of obesity (describe and evaluate the research and comment on its usefulness) Biological explanations of obesity including neural and evolutionary explanations (describe and evaluate the research)
  • 2. Topic 1 (Culture, health and mood)MOOD  It has been suggested that individuals who do not chose a healthy diet do so due to low self-esteem  Verplanken et al. (2005) correlational analysis on mood, impulse buying and snack consumption  Those with low self-esteem were more likely to impulse buy and also consume snacks  Possibly this behaviour is an attempt to cope with the emotional distress caused by low self-esteemMany people crave sweet, starchy, carbs when feeling low= comfort eating  Classical Conditioning – learned association with feeling low and compensating by eating chocolate or other sweet food.  Operant Conditioning – associated feelings of happiness or pleasure, even if these are temporary, when eating sweet foods  SLT- chocolate marketed as product of bringing happiness and we see choc as reward and reward ourselves in same waySerotonin hypothesis- Gibson (2006) • Chocolate contains amino acid tryptophan • Increases the production of Serotonin in the brain which elevates mood • Chocolate can make our mood better in the short term • Macht and Dettmer (2006) studied mood change in relation to eating choc or an apple. • Both raised mood and reduced hunger • But choc was more powerful, led to happy but guilty feelings.However:- AO2 evaluation  Increase in Serotonin only occurs when we take in pure carbs (rare)
  • 3.  Presence of protein (in choc!) can prevent Tryptophan entering brain_________________________________________________________________________________ • Wansink et al (08) offered popcorn and grapes to participants • Findings= Watching a sad film ate more popcorn to cheer self up and ate more grapes during a comedy to prolong their mood • BUT.. When given calorie Information popcorn consumption dropped significantly (Garg 2001)It is generally recognised that people eat in response to their mood, one form of mood that has been studied isstress. DO PEOPLE EAT MORE OR LESS WHEN STRESSED?  High levels of cortisol (stress hormone) increase the need for carbohydrates  Some people experience an irresistible desire for sweet or starchy foods when stressedOliver and Wardle (1999)Studied students perceptions of the relationship between stress and snacking. 73% stated that stress increased their snacking and decreased their consumption of ‘meal-type’ foods  Stone and Brownell (1994)  Longitudinal study on stress and eating patterns of 158 students for 84 days  Stress caused them to eat LESS  Change in appetite (increase or decrease) can be a symptom of a mood disorder or depression  Negative mood (dysphoria) can be masked by a temporary heightened mood induced by eating (Ogdem, 2007- masking hypothesis)Popper (1986) found that a decrease in eating amongst marines during combat situationsWillenbring (1989) using a lab experiment on humans found that people ate less when stressedCools et al (1992) found that stress only triggered increase eating in those already dietingCONCLUSIONTo sum up, our mood influences what and also how much we eat. Research into stress has highlighted individualdifferences, some may eat more some may eat less.
  • 4. EVALUATIONIssuesMethodology = Most lab experiments so lack ecological validity but we can control the variables which is morescientific and can be easily replicated. Correlations just show a relationship and not a cause.Culture bias =Ethics = may cause distress to participants under stressApproaches 1. Cognitive – faulty thinking 2. Behaviourists – conditioning as discussed above 3. Psychodynamic – faulty ego giving in to the demands of the id 4. Evolutionary – we have innate tendency to go for sweet foods for energyDebates 1. More of an interactionist view by the environment stress making you eat sweet foods which can have an effect on the biology of the person such as serotonin levels. Nature and nurture 2. Reductionist because eating behaviour is complex behaviour and it is not as simple as eating more or less in response to stress 3. Deterministic because it argues that we can change our eating habits due to our mood and not free willHEALTHWe are all supposed to follow the eat well plate diet which includes 5 a day fruit and veg. Is health a motivation foreating behaviour. TV programmes are aimed at healthy eating. Rapoport (2003) states that healthy eating productsand a market for health and programmes suggest that health must be a motivation for some people. However, atthe same time the population is becoming heavier and the consumption of processed foods show no signs ofdecline. Steptoe (1995) found that health was a factor but other factors include price, convenience, preparation timeand country of origin.Eating behaviour is motivated by many factors and health is not particularly high for most people.CULTUREThere is a large variation in food preferences between cultures. Most research has focused on the learning processesthat are associated with eating behaviour. 3 mechanisms have been identified 1. Exposure to food = People need to eat a variety of foods in order to maintain a balanced diet yet some show clear avoidance of certain foods, this fear is known as neophobia. Research has shown that exposure to new foods can change children’s preferences. One study gave 2 yr old children novel foods over 6 weeks. One was presented 20 times, one 10, one 5 times and one less. Results showed support for exposure, we like foods that we are most familiar with 2. Social learning = the impact of observing other people’s behaviour on our own (Modelling). Birch et al (1990) used peer modelling to change children’s preferences for veg. On 4 days the children were sat next to
  • 5. children who preferred a different veg to them. (peas v carrots). By the end of the study the children showed a definite shift in their veg preference and it was still evident several weeks after the study. Those who did not like peas at the start did so at the end. Further experiments have shown that food dudes can also change children’s eating habits. Parents are also central to children eating habits. Ogden reported positive correlation between parents and their children in terms of snack intake. 3. Associative learning = (Classical conditioning) refers to the impact of pairing one factor with another. Pairing food with a reward – Birch gave children food in association with positive adult attention which was found to increase food preference. Rewarding eating behaviour can change preferences. Using food as a reward – Birch et al (1980) showed that food acceptance increased if the foods were presented as a reward. Food and physiological consequences - lots of people report feeling sick after a certain food and have not touched it since. Food and control – Parents who restrict a child’s foods such as not allowing crisps can make the foods more attractive. However, other studies have suggested that parental control can lead to reduced weight and improved eating behaviour.EVALUATION√ Developmental approach emphasises the role of learning√ Research is often carried out in a controlled environment but may lack ecological validity√ The developmental model includes a role for cognitionsDebatesThis is more nurture rather than nature. It can explain cultural differences in dietDeterministic because it suggests that we eat because of links with the environment rather than our own freechoice.It includes parents, peers, exposure and rewards which is more of a holistic approach rather than reductionist.ApproachesBiological would argue that it is due to neurotransmittersEvolutionary would argue that we have innate food preferences
  • 6. IssuesX use children as participants so we cannot get fully informed consentX cannot explain changes in eating patterns that are often reported in adulthoodDIETINGSome believe that they are overweight due to genetics whereas others believe it is due to a person’s free will andwhat they choose to eat.Restraint theory Herman and Mack (1975) was developed to investigate the causes and consequences of dieting.Dieting can be successful resulting in weight loss, or unsuccessful resulting in weight gain and over eating.kirkley et al (1998) found that restrained eaters consumed fewercalories than unrestrained eatersFactors that increase the success of dieting 1. Person’s beliefs about the causes of obesity and their motivation for weight loss. (Rodin 1977) 2. People who are more dissatisfied with their body shape were more successful, motivation may be due to attractiveness 3. Ogden (2000) found that weight loss maintainers were more likely to note the consequences of obesity such as depression and low self esteem 4. They also wanted to boost their self esteem 5. Interviews with people who have lost weight and maintained it said that it was triggered by a key life event. It is maintained if you meet these conditions • A belief in a behavioural model of obesity • A reduction in choice of what and when they eat • A process of reinvention, they see themselves as a new person thinner and more healthy, RATHER THAN OBESEIts not only what people do but what they believeFOR DIETING TO BE SUCCESSFUL A PERSON NEEDS TO 1. Hold a model of obesity that focuses on the behaviour as central to their weight problem 2. Avoid a state of denial whereby they want to eat but do not 3. Create a situation whereby food is no longer regarded as rewarding 4. Establish a new identity as a thinner person
  • 7. Unsuccessful dieting • When people overeat • Ruderman and Wilson (1979) found that restrained eaters consumed more food than unrestrained eaters. (Preload technique) • Dishinibition can occur which means eating more as a response to emotional distress or intoxication3 mechanisms 1. Causal model of over eatingPresented by Herman and Polivy (1980) • State that dieting and bingeing were causally linked to restraint and can cause over eating • Wardle (1980) found that trying to diet could result in overeating 2. Mood Modification • Dieters tend to eat in response to a lowered mood • People try to mask their negative mood with the good feeling of eating comfort food • (Masking hypothesis) • Polivy and Herman (1999) told female participants that they had either passed or failed a task and gave them as much food as they wanted. Results partly supported the masking hypothesis 3. Denial • Wegner (1994) asked participants not to think about a white bear, and asked others to think about it. But to ring a bell if they did • Results showed that those who were told not to think about the bear actually thought about it more • SO A DECISION TO EAT LESS OR NO CERTAIN FOODS MAY SET UP A SIMILAR PROCESS OF DENIAL • As soon as food is denied it becomes forbidden and is translated into eating EVALUATION √ The research focuses on body dissatisfaction, which is a common determinant of the ways in which people eat √ Much of the research used an experimental approach (Behaviourist) so key variables can be manipulated √ The findings reflect people’s experiences X Limitations of restraint theory, because it cannot account for anorexia, it cannot explain why vegetarians never eat meat Methodology = lab experiments Issues = culture bias=
  • 8. Gender bias= Ethics = deception, ,may cause distress and cannot fully get informed consent Approaches 1. Psychodynamic = 2. Biological = slow metabolism due to genetics 3. Cognitive = diet due to adaptive thinking processes but fail due to faulty thinking patterns 4. Behaviourist = due to conditioning and seeing sweet foods as a reward will make you failDebates 1. If you think it is due to genetics this is a deterministic view and you will fail, if you believe that it is due to free will then you will succeed 2. Biological view is reductionist because it says that both successful and non successful diets are only due to impact of genes but this is too simplistic, there is more to eating habits 3. The factors that are discussed above on what is needed to succeed is mainly nurture but if you believe it is genetic then its nature. Dieting involves both nature and nurture.BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF EATING BEHAVIOUR • Eating behaviour seems to have a strong biological basis • Feeling hungry is one of the basic biological drives that cause us to eat in order to stay alive • This model focuses on hunger, satiety and the role of neurochemicals in determining when and how much we eat.Neural mechanisms • Walter Cannon coined the term homeostasis to refer to the biological mechanisms which regulate behaviours such as eating. • Example when we get hot we sweat, when we get thirsty we drink, when we need food we experience hunger which makes us eat • Homeostasis is maintained via a negative feedback loop which assumes that any given bodily variable has a set point. • When our fat stores and glucose levels are depleted or low, we feel hungry which makes us eat.The hypothalamus • Role of eating became apparent when people with tumours to the hypothalamus became OBESE • Early studies suggests that the LATERAL hypothalamus is the feeding centre, and the medial is the satiety centre
  • 9. Neurotransmitters • 3 neurotransmitter pathways which are situated in the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system influence our appetite1/ the catecholamines = hunger and satiety in between meals2/ serotonin = involved in satiety3/ peptides = Pleasure in foodNeurons that increase food intake are: Neuropeptide y and galaninNeurons that decrease food intake are: Bombesin and serotoninDRUGSPsychologists study the effects of drugs on eating behaviour because it provides another meansof understanding the neurochemical basis of hunger and satiety.Amphetamines and nicotine both reduce hunger, whereas marijuana and tricyclic antidepressants increase hunger.EVALUATION OF BIO EXPLANATIONX reductionist =X deterministic =X Nature =ApproachesBehaviourist = we learn eating behaviour through culture and stimulus response linksIssuesEthics = using animals (2 reasons for and 2 against)Methodology (Lab based so lacks ecological validity but it is good for controlling the variables) Use of animals cannot generalise to humansEVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATION OF FOOD PREFERENCE 1. According to this, current human behaviour can be understood in terms of how it may have been adaptive in our ancestral past
  • 10. 2. Through natural selection, those characteristics that have advantages will survive as the species evolves3. Evolutionary psychologists are interested in the following questions• Are their innate preferences for certain foods?• How would these have been adaptive in the past?• How do these food preferences function now?Innate preferences1. Davis (1928,1939) investigated the food choices of infants and young children living in a paediatric unit2. She concluded that young children have an innate, regulatory mechanism and are able to select a healthy diet. Only if this diet is available to them3. She suggested that food preferences changed over time and were modified by experience1. Further support for regulatory mechanisms• Using facial expressions and sucking behaviour babies have shown to prefer sweet tasting substances• Some evidence for an innate preference for salt• Researchers have shown that 6month old babies who were used to sweetened water drank more water than those drinking normal waterHow might innate food preferences have been adaptive?1. Our ancestors were hunter gatherers, whose diets consisted of fruits, berries, veg and some meat.2. Innate preference for sweet foods provide us with energy for hunting and gathering3. Natural avoidance of bitter foods would help protect people from eating?4. Preference for salt is harder to explain because we are not supposed to eat a lot of it, it may have functioned by encouraging people to eat meatInnate food preferences in the modern world1. In the past the main challenge for people was to avoid being malnourished and eating enough food to support an active lifestyle2. For most people food is no longer scarce and our lives are not as physically active3. A preference for sweet foods may encourage people to eat chocolate bars rather than berries4. A preference for salt may encourage people to eat high fat foods flavoured with salt i.e. CHIPS
  • 11. • An evolutionary explanation for obesity has been put forward, by suggesting that biological preferences for foods which cause over eating. This is called ‘obesogenic environment’ • These are many factors in our environment such as fast food shops and cars which contribute to obesityBIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF OBESITY • Looks at genetic models, neural models and an evolutionary approach. • Genetic theories look at family clusters, twin studies and adoption studies • Family clusters = body size appears to run in families, the probability that a child will be overweight is related to the parents weight • If a parent is classed as obese this results in a 40% chance of the child being obese • If both parents are obese then it rises to 80% • The probability that a thin parent will produce an obese child is 7%However, they share the same environment so psychologists use twin studies and adoptionstudies to address this matterTwin studies • Studies of identical twins reared apart show that they are more similar in weight than non- identical twins reared together • Stunkard (1990) examined the BMI of 93 identical twins and reported that genetic factors accounted for 66 – 70% of the variance in their body weight. WHICH SUGGESTS A STRONG GENETIC COMPONENT TO OBESITYAdoption studies • Stunkard et al (1986) gathered information on 540 adult adoptees, their adoptive parents and biological parents • The results showed a strong relationship between the weight category (thin, medium, overweight or obese) of the adoptee and their biological parents. • FOUND NO RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR ADOPTEE PARENTSGENETICS CARRIED ON • Research therefore suggests a strong role for genetics in predicting behaviour
  • 12. • Research also suggests that the distribution of weight (Upper versus lower) is inherited • How this genetic predisposition expresses itself is unclear, psychologists have looked at1. Metabolic rate 2. Appetite regulationMetabolic rate • The body uses energy for exercise and physical activity and to carry out the bodily processes to keep us alive. (respiration, heart rate and blood pressure) • The rate of energy is called the resting metabolic rate, which is found to be highly inheritable • Lower metabolic rates may be associated with obesity because some people need fewer calories to surviveAppetite regulation 1. Prader-Willi syndrome, genetic disorder on chromosone 15 which makes them not stop eating 2. They maybe a genetic predisposition of appetite control 3. 2 children have been identified with a defect on their ‘ob gene’ which produces LEPTIN which is responsible for telling the brain to stop eating 4. It has been argued that obese people may not produce leptin and may therefore overeat.Neural model 1. The role of neurotransmitters involved in food intake and satiety 2. It could be that people overeat because they have too many neurotransmit
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