Eating Behaviour Revision Notes

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Eating Behaviour
Attitudes to Food and Eating Behaviour
Social Learning
Observing others: Children learning through observation of parents. Parental modelling influences
children because parents in charge of food eaten in home
Brown and Ogden ­ found consistent correlations between parents and children in terms of snack
food intake, eating motivations and body dissatisfactions
o A03
Correlation study ­ cannot determine cause and effect, extraneous variables
Media Effects: MacIntyre et al ­ found media have major impact on what people eat and attitudes
to foods. However, attitudes are limited by personal circumstances (income/age) people learn
attitudes from media but place these in broader context of their lives
Support for impact of observation: Meyer and Gast- surveyed 12 year olds and found +ve
correlation between peer influence and disordered eating. `Likeability' of peers was most influential
o A03
Limited Sample ­ only 12 year olds reduces generalisability
Support for parental modelling: Birch and Fisher ­ found that best predictors of daughters' eating
behaviours were their mothers' dietary restraint and their perception of risk of daughters becoming
Gender bias: most studies focused solely on women's attitudes to eating behaviour, yet research
shows that homosexual men are also at risk of developing disordered eating attitudes and
behaviour, including body dissatisfaction and higher levels of dieting than heterosexual men
More than one factor: social learning explanation focuses mainly on role of fashion models being
influential. Attitudes must be caused by more. Evolutionary explanation suggests that general
preference for fatty + sweet foods is direct result of evolved adaptation among our ancestors
Cultural Influences
Ethnicity: Powell and Khan ­ body dissatisfaction and related eating concerns and disorders are
more characteristic of white than black/Asian women
Ball and Kenardy ­ 14, 000 Australian women, various ethnic origins. Longer they'd spent in
Australia, more they reported eating attitudes similar to Australian-born women (acculturation
Social class: body dissatisfaction and eating concerns are more common among middle + higher
Dornbusch et al ­ surveyed 7000 American adolescents and found that higher class individuals had
a greater desire to be thin and were more likely to be dieting to achieve this, than were lower class
Refute for ethnicity: Mumford et al ­ found more evidence of body dissatisfaction and eating
disorders among Asian schoolchildren than among white counterparts. Striegel-Moore et al ­
found more evidence of `drive for thinness' among black girls than among white girls
o A03
Problems of generalisability ­ sample represents non-clinical population who
experience a temporarily depressed mood limits degree to which study can be
generalised to another group and difficult to draw valid conclusions about causal
factors in attitudes toward eating
Refute for social class: Story et al ­ sample of American students, higher social class was related to
greater satisfaction (rather than dissatisfaction) with weight + lower rates of weight control
Culture bias: Rozin et al ­ explored way food functions in minds of people in 4 different cultures.
Americans tended to associated food with health, French associated it with pleasure. Females of all
4 cultures had attitudes similar to Americans

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Eating Behaviour
o Cultural background influences attitude to eating measurement of attitudes in one
culture tells us little about attitudes in a different culture
Evolutionary Explanations for Food Preference
Early Diets
Preference for fatty foods: was adaptive because harsh conditions in the environment of
evolutionary adaptation (EEA) meant energy resources were vital to stay alive.…read more

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Eating Behaviour
Neural Mechanisms in Eating and Satiation
Involves mechanisms that detect state of internal environment and also correct it to restore
environment to optimal state glucose levels play main role in producing feelings of hunger
Increase in blood glucose
Ventromedial hypothalamus activated
Lateral hypothalamus activated
Eating stops
Decrease in blood glucose
Limitations: for hunger mechanism to be adaptive, it must both anticipate and prevent deficits, not
just react to them
Theory that hunger and eating are triggered only…read more

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Eating Behaviour
A01 ­ Ventromedial hypothalamus:
Damage to VMH causes hyperphagia (overeating). Stimulation of VMH inhibits feeding
Damage to VMH also causes damage to paraventricular nucleus (PVN). It is now believed that
damage to PVN is what causes hyperphagia
A02 ­ Refute role of ventromedial hypothalamus
Gold ­ claimed that lesions to VMH alone did not produce overeating, but did so only when these
lesions included the PVN.…read more

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Eating Behaviour
o During adolescence these children desire to establish autonomy, but are unable to achieve
this without taking excessive control over their body shape and developing abnormal
eating habits
Support for Bruch's theory:
o Steiner ­ found that parents of adolescents with AN had a tendency to define their
children's needs rather than letting them define their own needs supports claim that
children of ineffective parents become overly reliant on parents to identify their needs
o Button and Warren ­ examined group of…read more

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Eating Behaviour
Support for reproductive suppression hypothesis: observation that onset of puberty is delayed in
prepubertal girls with AN.…read more

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Eating Behaviour
Support: Soetens et al ­ found that ppts who suppressed thoughts about food also showed a
rebound effect, and were more likely to think about food after suppression
o Might explain why denial of thoughts about food leads to greater rather than less
preoccupation with it
o A03
Experimental research ­ high control of variables low mundane realism
o However ­ refute by Wegner who admits that `ironic effects' observed in research were not
Research has not represented enough cultures to…read more



This is great too! Thank you :)


This is great too! Thank you :)


A very useful document, thank you!

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