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EATING BEHAVIOUR
ATTITUDES TO FOOD AND EATING BEHAVIOUR
SOCIAL LEARNING
Focuses on how social learning observation of others impacts on our own attitudes and
behaviours.
There are two aspects of social learning relating to eating behaviour.
PARENTAL MODELLING
Parents have an inevitable influence on children's attitudes because they control which
foods are bought and served in the home.…read more

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SOCIAL CLASS
Shown to be important since many studies have concluded that body dissatisfaction,
dieting behaviours and eating disorders are more common in higher-class individuals.
Dornbusch ­ surveyed 7000 American adolescents found that higher class females had a
greater desire to be thin, and were more likely to diet to achieve this.
Another study shows similar results since the 2003 Scottish Health Survey established that
generally high income is positively correlated with healthy eating.…read more

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EXPLANATIONS FOR THE SUCCESS AND/OR FAILURE OF DIETING
RESTRAINT THEORY - failure
Herman and Mack
Research suggests that as many as 89% of the female population in the UK consciously
restrain their food intake at some point in their lives.
The restraint theory was developed as an attempt to explain both the causes and
consequences associated with the cognitive restriction of food intake.
DISINHIBITION
Suggests that attempting not to eat actually increases probability of overeating.
It is the disinhibition (loss of control) that causes overeating.…read more

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Wegner et al - two groups of participants asked either to think about a bear or to not,
and those told not to think about the bear thought about it more often than those asked
to do so.
THEORY OF IRONIC PROCESSES OF MENTAL CONTROL
Central to any dieting strategy ­ decision not to eat certain `forbidden' foods.
Relevant to the failure of dieting - trying to deny yourself certain foods will, according to
the theory, lead you to think about the forbidden foods more.…read more

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Involves mechanisms which both detect the state of the internal environment (if the body
has enough nutrients) and also correct the situation to restore that environment to its
optimal state.
There is a big time lag between mechanisms restoring equilibrium and the body
registering their effect.
By the time an individual has eaten enough to restore energy levels, only a little amount
of food has been digested, so the receptors have insufficient data to `turn off' eating.…read more

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Conflicting evidence ­ Marie et al genetically manipulating mice so that did not make NPY
- showed no decrease in feeding behaviour. Therefore, it is suggested that the hunger
stimulated by NPY injections may be an experimental artefact, rather than being true to
life.
Real-world application ­ Yang et al found that NPY is also produced by abdominal fat,
which leads to more eating and production of more fat cells.…read more

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EVOLUTIONARY EXPLANATIONS OF FOOD PREFERENCES
THE ENVIRONMENT OF EVOLUTIONARY ADAPTATION
THE EEA refers to the environment in which a species first evolved ­ African.
Natural selection favoured adaptations geared towards survival in environment.
The adaptive problems faced by our ancestors in the EEA would have been shaped by
early food preferences.
Food preferences are a product of evolution
Hunter-gatherer societies ­ preference for high-calories foods (for energy)
EVALUATION
Can be tested ­ study related species that face similar adaptive problems.…read more

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Humans included meat in their diets to compensate for declining plant foods due to
receding forests two million years ago.
Fossil evidence of hunter-gatherers and tools found for killing animals suggest daily diets
were primarily based on animal foods - organs (livers) - rich energy sources.
These foods were topped up with plant-based foods (rice) - few nutrients but many
calories.
Suggested that it was the animal-based diets, full of nutrients, which acted as the catalyst
for brain growth.…read more

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PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS OF BULIMIA NERVOSA
Clinical characteristics for BN ­ binges (episodes of secret periods of overeating).
Purges - bulimics do to compensate for their overindulgence and to prevent weight gain -
self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives or not eating for a long time.
Frequency of binge-purge should be seen at least twice a week for 3 months.
Bulimics have an inappropriate perception of their body.
BN is different from AN - bulimics tend to be normal weight due to binge-purge.…read more

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