AO1 - Eating Behaviour

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Attitudes to food and eating behaviour

Social Learning Theory

One explanation of attitudes to food is the social learning theory. The theory argues that we learn behaviours (and therefore attitudes) through observation. We observe a role model, someone we identify with (this may be because they're popular or attractive) and we model their behaviour in the hopes that we will become popular and/or attractive too. So if we see that a role model dislikes fruit and vegetables, then the individual may also stop eating them. An individual may also learn behaviours from parents and friends, copying what they eat because they look up to them.

Ethnicity Explanation

An alternative explanation of attitudes to food and eating behaviour is the ethnicity explanation. This explanation suggests that our attitudes may be influenced by our ethnicity and culture. Our ethnicity may lead us to have different feelings and cognitions about our bodies and therefore cause varying attitudes regarding food. For example, it is thought that white women have greater levels of bulimia.

Success/failure of dieting

Restraint Theory

The restraint theory was developed by Herman and Mack. They argued that restricting a diet actually increases the risk of overeating and this causes the diet to fail. They argued that by restricting a diet, an individual may get so hungry that all they can think about is food, and then end up overeating because of it. For example, if an individual restricts their diet to a maximum 1200 calories instead of a regular 2000, they may end up overeating and eat 2100 calories. This causes the diet to fail, and causes the individual to gain weight instead of losing it.

Precommitment Theory

Precommitment theory states that most diets fail because they rely solely on the willpower of the individual. Crockett et al. suggest that if dieters take pre-emptive measures to stop their diet failing, or precommit to the diet, then it is more likely to succeed. For example, if dieters remove all unhealthy food from the house and follow a strict shopping list, then they will be able to avoid overeating on junk food etc simply because they don't access to it, making the diet more likely to succeed.

Neural mechanisms in eating

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the body's tendency to maintain…

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