Eating Behaviours

This category contains 9 posts

1) Social learning theory and attitudes to food

Social learning theory (SLT) says that our behaviour is learnt through observing those around us, so our eating behaviour is determined by the behaviour of people we know. Parental modelling SLT says we learn a lot about how we eat from our parents. One reason this happens is because parent’s control the food children eat … Continue reading

2) Cultural Influences and attitudes to food

Some psychologists argue that the culture you live in has a huge effect on your attitude towards food. Some examples of this could be: Social class – Dornbush et al (2002) found that in a survey of 7000 American teenagers it was the higher class females that had the greatest desire to be thin. This … Continue reading

3) Mood and eating behaviour

Some psychologists suggest that extreme eating behaviour, such as bingeing, is due to mood. So for some people bingeing is a way of escaping a negative mood. Davis et al (1988) found that bulimic individuals had more negative moods an hour before binges then they did at other times, suggesting that bingeing is a result … Continue reading

4) Explanations for the success or failure of dieting

Restraint theory Klesges et al found that 89% of the female population restrain their food intake at some point in their lives. But in their restraint theory Herman and Mack suggest that this restraint can actually lead to an increase in overeating. The Boundary Model – To try and explain why restraint might increase eating … Continue reading

5) Neural Mechanisms in Eating

The role of neural mechanisms The hypothalamus is a gland in the brain responsible for homeostasis. Homeostasis is the way in which our body keeps conditions constant, for example our body temperature, sweat and urine levels. Another condition homeostasis controls is our intake of food and drink, hence why some psychologists believe the hypothalamus controls … Continue reading

6) The Evolutionary Explanations of Food Preferences

This explanation says that our food preferences are determined by how our ancestors evolved to ensure they survived. Sweet food – Harris found that newborn babies have a preference for sweet things and a dislike for bitter things. He also found these preferences are the same all over the world, which suggests this preference is … Continue reading

7) Psychological Explanations for Bulimia Nervosa

Cognitive model Developmental factors – Cooper said that many people who suffer from Bulimia have experienced trauma which those around them might not see. These individuals therefore conclude that they are not acceptable to those around them, so Cooper believes bulimics learn to diet to become thin and therefore acceptable to those around them. Maintaining … Continue reading

8) Biological explanations for bulimia nervosa

Neural explanations Serotonin – Depression and bulimia occur together, so psychologists believe there is a common link between the two. For example both have been linked with imbalances in the levels of serotonin. Kaye et al found the levels of serotonin were abnormal in recovering bulimics compared to people who had never experienced bulimia. Low … Continue reading

9) Evolutionary explanations for Bulimia Nervosa

The sexual competition hypothesis Abed suggests that bulimia nervosa is a result of an evolved need to compete with other females in order to attract a mate, so women obsess over dieting and weight loss in order to attract a mate. Evolution of nubility – Ridley claims that over time we have evolved to believe … Continue reading