Outline and Evaluate Evolutionary Explanations of Eating Behaviour


Outline and Evaluate Evolutionary Explanations of Eating Behaviour

The evolutionary explanation uses the Environment od Evolutionary Adaption (EEA) as a model to explain eating behaviours and food preferences today. The EEA is the original environment humans lived in, over 20000 years ago. In this environment, psychologists believe humans had a preference for fatty organs such as the brain or liver, there is some evidence to support the idea of humans evolving to eat meant through the shape of teeth in prehistoric skulls which became sharper and more adapted to tearing. Milton claims that this was adaptive, because the fatty food contained lots of nutrients and protein for growth which allowed our brains to grow and develop sophisticated cognitive function. The evolutionary approach also uses the EEA to explain taste aversion in humans; rats are difficult to poison because they have evolved to be Bait Shy which means they only taste a small bit of new food and if it makes them ill they avoid. The same is seen in humans who naturally avoid smelly or sour food which is beneficial because it is often an indicator of poison.

The evolutionary explanation of taste aversion is supported by Garcia et al. They found that rats who were given a distinct flavour before suffering radiation poisoning avoided the food after becoming ill. This is adaptive, because it means that the rats who eat a small amount of poison do not get ill, therefore survive. This is an evolutionary advantage, because those who do not have Bait Shyness are most likely to die from eating bad foods. This supports the evolutionary explanation, and explains why humans have evolved no to like certain foods which are sour.

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