Attitudes to food and eating behaviour

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: imanilara
  • Created on: 03-06-16 23:31

Theory 1 : SLT

-Children observe people that they can identify with, eg parents, peers, siblings, TV characters
-eating foods, could be cake/carrots/chocolate , and enjoying the food's taste, perhaps at in a desriable setting eg a celebration
-vicarious reinforcement- child sees consequences of model's food eating
-they mimic the behaviour and are reinforced by the food, eg cake, bc it tastes nice or it is eaten at bday parties - this is direct reinforcement . 

Parental attitudes: 

-Children influenced by parents- 

Availability: parent provides the food that is available to the child- dictates their choice of food 

Parental modelling: children observe parents eating behviour and imitate it - SLT

Parental attempts at controlling consumption: can influence chid's attitudes thru methods used ot increase consumption of disliked foods but it leads to increasing liking for desried food and increasing neg attitudes to target food 

1 of 6

Commentary SLT/Parental attitudes

Evidence that behaviour can be learned from SLT- eg Bandura's bobo dolls findings suggest- children can observe and imitate a model's beh- reasonable to assume EB can be learned in a similar way.

Lowe et al: found that if the model was an admired peer this would increase consumption of fruit+veg- shows SLT in that child identifies w admired peer and imitates their beh. 

Brown+Ogden 2004: consistent correlations between parents and children in terms of snack food intake and eating motivations- Parental modelling 

Birch and Fischer 2000: one of the best predictors of daughters eating behaviours were mothers dietary restraints. 

Comment: supports notion that parents influence child's EB and attitudes BUT based on correlations and observations- no controlled variables, therefore no causal conclusions can be drawn. 

2 of 6

More Commentary and AO2

Problems w SLT exps:
-Little evidence suggesting SLT is the mechanism that links parental attitudes w children's attitudes- might not be psych, might be genetic- genes determine hunger+taste preference?

-Doesnt resolve nature v nurture debate- in that are shared food prefernces in families the result of SLT/ conditioning orrrrr genetics? 

3 of 6

Mood and emotional issues

Food serves many societal functions: eg to celebrate- brithdays, weddings, festivals as an expression of love, caring/friendships 

These links w emotions and events may influence attitudes to foods 
Preferences for some foods are also associated w particular emotional states, eg stressed/depressed eat more carbs and fat as this change in food is associated w a better mood+energy levs. 

Various bio mechanisms that may underlie this- in the poss that carbs increase SE release and therefore improve mood = positive attitudes towards this food. OPERANT CONDITIONING- positively reinforced by serotonin 

4 of 6

Commentary Mood+EB

Garg et al: p's offered buttered popcorn and seedless grapes and watch sad film - 36% eat more buttered popcorn than those in upbeat film, whereas more eat grapes in upbeat film

-shows that we choose more fatty/sugary snaks in order to boost mood and be positively reinforced and eat healthilty when we want to maintain a positive mood.

This theory fits w general norms in society eg comfor eating, in that we eat unhealthily in order to feel better - has lots of anecdotal evidence but mixed emperical evidence:
- Popper et al- 1989- marines ate less in stressful conditions
-Wardle et al- 2000-office workers ate more saturated fats during high workload 
Mixed perhaps due to - different anxieties cause different eating behviours- does show that eating patterns affected by stress doe!

5 of 6


Evolutionary approach- our prefs a result of our ancestors eating beh's in the EEA- choosing foods that are highly calorific in order to increase chance of survival and being able to pass on gene - not to do w mood or learning via our parents or peers 

Nature v nurture:
- does mood affect eating bc of biochemistry, eg SE released in the brain or increased energy OR is it to do w what we have learned (positive associations w sweet foods)??

Free will v determinism:

do we have the free will to choose what we eat or is it determined by what we have learned or our biochemistry??? we may feel we have free will but this isnt the case 

Cultural issues: 
research carried out in western societies- lots of money- access to junk food and processed foods - can't be applied to all cultures where they dont have this lluxury- BIAS 

despite this bias, SLT would explain why there are cultural diffs in attitudes to food- we imitate those in our environment we identify with within the culture!!!!

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Eating disorders resources »