Eating Behaviour

  • Factors Affecting Attitude to Food
  • Explanations for the Success and Failure of Dieting
  • Neural Mechanisms in Eating and Satiation
  • Evolutionary Explanations for Food Preference
  • Biological Explanations of Anorexia Nervosa
  • Psychological Explanations of Anorexia Nervosa
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  • Created by: Miriam
  • Created on: 09-05-11 15:07
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Factors Affecting Attitude to Food
Relationship A01
There is a well documented link between food (particularly unhealthy food)
and positive mood.
Hunger is associated with an increase in arousal and irritability.
After eating we feel calm, sleepy and have mostly pleasurable feelings.
Garg et al: Popcorn Research A02
Procedure: One group of participants watched a sad film in an artificial cinema
(lab environment) while another group of participants watched a happy film in
an identical artificial cinema. All participants were given the same amount of
popcorn. The experiment was repeated the next day, with each group
watching the other film.
Findings: On average, the participants consumed 28% less popcorn watching
the sad film.
Conclusion: People eat more when they are sad, supports the theory that
mood affects eating behaviour
People eat more when they are sad because...
Serotonin Hypothesis A02
Eating > converts tryptophan to serotonin > increased serotonin levels
> improved mood
Carbohydrates contain tryptophan which converts to serotonin in the brain.
Low levels of serotonin are associated with depression.
Gibson (2006) found that people with depression consume more
carbohydrates because it increases the serotonin in the brain.
This explains why food has a positive effect on mood.
However proteins prevent tryptophan converting to serotonin ­ as most foods,
including chocolate, contain protein, this may not be a satisfactory
explanation of the effect of mood on food. An alternative explanation may

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Opiate Hypothesis A02
Eating > stimulates opiate neurotransmitters > causes feelings of
pleasure and pain reduction
Food stimulates opiate neurotransmitters in the brain
These opiate neurotransmitters include enkephalin and beta-endorphin.
They are involved in feeling pleasure and pain reduction.
This explains why food has a positive effect on mood.
Nature / Nurture A03
Suggests the effect of mood on eating behaviour is a result of biological
factors, or a person's nature.…read more

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Parental modelling A02
Brown and Odgen (2004) suggest that children observe and replicate their
parents eating behaviour
They found consistent correlations between parents and their children in
terms of snack food intake eating motivations and body dissatisfaction
Media effects A02
MacIntrye et al found that the media (e.g. the television and magazines)
affects what people eat and attitudes to certain foods.…read more

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Procedure: One group of dieters were given a low calorie food (e.g. fruit) and
then a standard food (e.g. ice cream). A separate group of dieters were given
a high calorie food (e.g. chocolate) and then the same standard food. The
experiment was repeated with non-dieters.
Findings: Dieters ate more after a high calorie food while non-dieters ate
more after low calorie food.
Conclusion: Dieters showed the `what the heck' attitude as they had already
eaten more (in terms of calories) than their cognitive boundary.…read more

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Rather than referring to lunch as `salad' every day, a person should focus on
the details, e.g. the ingredients within the salad.
Varying these `details' will increase the likelihood of a successful diet.
Jelly Bean Research (Redden) A02
Procedure: 135 people were given 22 jelly beans one at a time. Each time,
information about the jelly bean was shown on a screen. One group saw
general information (e.g. bean number 7) while the other group saw more
detailed information (e.g. cherry flavoured bean).…read more

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These signals activate the lateral hypothalamus (LH) which causes feelings of
hunger and consequently eating begins.
Eating causes signals of food intake including a rise in blood glucose and a
decrease in ghrelin release.
These signals activate the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) which causes
satiation (feeling of fullness).
The role of the LH is supported by research conducted by...
Starving Rats: LH Lesion A02
Findings: Anand and Brobeck (1951) found that lesions to the LH lead to a
loss of feeding in rats.…read more

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Injections of ghrelin increase food intake and body weight in animals and
humans (Cummings, 2006)
Gastric bands reduce ghrelin secretion which reduces hunger and thereby aids
weight loss.
Blood Test Research: Cummings et al (2004)
Procedure: Six participants were given lunch, then ghrelin levels were
monitored from blood samples taken every five minutes until the participants
requested their evening meal. Participants reported their degree of hunger
every 30 minutes.
Findings: Ghrelin levels fell immediately after eating lunch, reaching their
lowest levels at about 70 minutes.…read more

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Important to detect salt as high sodium concentrations needed to maintain
the body's nerve and muscle activity and water balance (Fisser, 2003)
However too much salt can be dangerous for humans as it can cause high
blood pressure, increase the risk of heart problems.
Therefore salt taste receptors are needed in order to detect the right amount
salty foods in order to ensure survival.
The theory that a preference for salt is supported by Dudley et al's research
on ants...…read more

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In the EEA, foods that were bitter / sour were generally poisonous and
therefore it was important to avoid them.
The ability to distinguish better tastes is developed as an evolutionary
mechanism to protect early humans from eating poisonous plants.
Herbivores have fewer bitter taste genes than omnivores or carnivores
because avoiding bitter plants would considerably limit their food source.
Humans have 30 genes that code for bitter taste receptors, allowing people
to detect a wide variety of bitter tastes.…read more

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Findings: In the women recovering from anorexia nervosa, there was over
activity in the dopamine receptors.
Conclusion: Increased dopamine activity appears to alter the way people
interpret rewards. Individuals with anorexia nervosa do not associate pleasure
with food (as most people do). This supports the theory that increased
dopamine activity may explain anorexia.
Serotonin A01
Disturbances in the levels of serotonin are a characteristic of individuals with
eating disorders.…read more



you are very wrong, sad mood people eat more

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