Evolutionary Explanations For Food Preferences

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  • Created on: 21-06-12 17:24
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Evolutionary Explanation For Food Preferences ­ Andrew F
AO1's AO2's
1 The period with most environmental 1 Evidence for the EEA comes from
stressors was the environment of comparative animal studies. Chimp's diets
evolutionary adaption (EEA), 2 million contain about 4% meat, whereas human's
years ago. During this time, individuals diets contain about 30%. However chimps it
whose preference was to eat meat were at significantly more meat in times of
an adaptive advantage. This is because environmental pressure. This suggests that
meat provides an excellent source of humans meat preference stems from a time
protein, fat and salt. Modern humans are of environmental pressure.
still programmed to crave these foods
despite that they are now readily available.
2 Supporting evidence for meat consumption
in human ancestors is available from fossils,
which are not falsifiable.
3 However, wellpreserved fossils are very
rare and can be interpreted differently.
2 It has been hypothesised that without
meat, we would not be so cognitively
advanced for several reasons. For
example, the social aspect of hunting
developed language, increased navigation
skills from hunting and increased memory
to know how animals will act.
3 As well as meat, there are four other main 4 De Aroujo proved that it was the energy
innate behaviours and food preferences. associated with sugar that drove preference
The first is sugar. It is adaptive to crave and not taste. He offered mice sugar or a
sugar because it contains the main low energy saccharide tasting of sugar. The
respiratory substrate for producing energy. mice all went for the sugar.
5 However humans have much better
cognitive abilities than mice so therefore
any conclusions drawn from these studies
cannot necessarily be applied to humans.
4 The second innate food preference is salt. 6 Research on the innateness of salt has
It is adaptive to crave salt because it is found that newborns are more likely to like
essential to maintain body fluids and is salt if a grandparent has hypertension. This
needed for various processes. suggests that preference for salt is
7 However the ethics of this study are
debatable because many would argue it is
bad to expose newborns to a taste which
they may become addicted to, potentially
causing illnesses like hypertension in later
5 The third innate food preference is a 8 Recent research supporting the innateness
dislike of sour or bitter tastes. It is of bitter taste aversion comes from
adaptive to reject bitter foods because observation of human behaviour. Children
they are often toxic to humans, therefore are more sensitive to bitter foods such as
this taste aversion should assist survival. green vegetables than adults, who have
learnt to overcome this behaviour.
9 This research is good because it includes
both a biological and a behaviourist or

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Evolutionary Explanation For Food Preferences ­ Andrew F
cognitive approach.
6 Furthermore, taste aversions can develop 10 This taste aversion research can be applied
as well as being innate. For example, if in daily life to help understand how and why
someone tries a novel food and they then we have or can develop taste aversions and
fall ill, even from something unrelated to why we can like a food and then later `go off
the novel food, they will develop a dislike it' permanently.…read more


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