Failure/Success of Dieting

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1. Crockett et al. (2)

  • were able to identify regions of the brain that play a role in willpower and precommitment. Found the PCM activates frontopolar cortex (future thinking) and increases communiaction with the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (willpower).
  • Gave 135 people jelly beans one at a time, as each bean was given they saw info. on a computer screen. Half saw general info, half saw detailed info. Ppts got bored faster if they saw general info. and enjoyed the task more if they were given details
  • a number of genetic codes exert an influence on weight. Lipoprotien lipase helps to store calories as fat and Kern et al (1990) found that LPL levels rose after weight loss and the fatter to begin with, the higher the levels.
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2. Crockett et al. (2013)

  • recruited male volunteers and gave them choices: a small reward immediately, or a larger reward after a delay. For some choices there was an option to precommit to resisting temptation. Found that precommitment was better self control strategy.
  • found that precommitment activates the frontpolar cortex, a region of the brain associated with future thinking. Failure or success may have something to do with biology
  • found that healthy eating programmes which take on the theory led to improved self-esteem, improved eating behaviour and greater weight stability.

3. Odgen (2007)

  • assigned 27 obese women to one of 3 groups (diet/exercise/control). They assessed food intake and appetite and found that women in the diet group ate more.
  • points out that the behaviour of restricting anorexics cannot be explained using this theory. If restriction of diet results in overeating, how do anorexics manage to starve themselves?
  • found that hunger keeps food intake below a certain minimum, and saiety keeps intake below some maximum level. Dieters have a larger range between hunger and saiety. This means that it takes them longer to feel hungry but longer to feel full

4. Obesity treatment

  • research has shown that they key to a successful diet is attention to detail when eating. This means that they can adapt it to create a treatment for obese patients, getting them to foucs on exactly what they're eating (texture, colour, density etc.)
  • restraint alone has shown to be ineffective, but very effective when combined with precommitment. This could be developed into a treatment for being with obesity, helping them to reduce thier weight effectively.
  • as the research into failure/success has been inconclusive, researchers cannot develop a reliable treatment for those with obesity.

5. Free Will v Determinism

  • a number of genetic codes exert an influence on weight. Lipoprotien lipase helps to store calories as fat and Kern et al (1990) found that LPL levels rose after weight loss and the fatter to begin with, the higher the levels.
  • the evolutionary explantion argues that humans have a preference for fatty foods due to an evolved gentic trait. This may cause people to crave fat-heavy foods and therefore cause a diet to fail.
  • Herman and Polivy (1984) found that restrained eaters have a self-imposed desired intake. Once this is exceeded, they continue to heat until they reach satiety.

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