Psychological explanation of obesity

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Psychology Unit 3

DESCRIBE AND EVALUATE A PSYCHOLOGICAL EXPLANATION OF OBESITY

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Description

Eating Behaviour

Obese people may have different beliefs about food:

  • They may have been brought up in a family often exposed to unhealthy food 
  • Unhealthy food could have been used as a reward 

Schachter's Theory

Suggested that environmental stimuli can cause uncontrollable cues to eat for obese people

  • Stimuli such as: sight, smell and taste of food
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Study

Spitzer and Robin

Examined 19 studies on eating behaviour

  • Found that only 9 reported overweight subjects in the laboratory experiments ate significantly more than their slim counterparts.

It has been recognised that measuring food intake is problematic

  • People change their food intake when being monitored or monitoring their own intake
  • Laboratory experiments also make it difficult to generalise to the public
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Evaluation

Negative:

Reductionist:

  • Eating behaviour theory doesn't take into account other approaches e.g. biological
  • This reduces reliability of the results

Uses cross sectional designs:

  • Cannot determine cause and effect

Positive:

  • Research can provide framework for developing interventions for obese people
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