* There are a number of physiological processes that influence when and what we eat.
* However, as in many aspects of human behaviour, the effects of these physiological processes are mediated by psychological and social ones.
* Many different things motivate us in:
- what we choose to eat.
-when we eat.
- how much we eat including convenience,
-what it looks like
- health concern
* In other words, our attitudes.
* Expectancy theory explains how decisions may be made in different situations and can be applied to eating behaviour.
* The evaluation of any situation or object comprises of two factors: -the perceived likelihood that the object has certain attributes or may lead to certain outcomes. -the value attached has these outcomes (positive or negative). -each attribute/outcome will affect your evaluation of what to eat (e.g. an attribute may be home made/bought or high/low calories).
* If this theory is true then when we are given a choice between two foods, we should choose the one with the most desirable attributes or outcomes (Conner & Armitage, 2002).
parental attitudes and food preferences;
Parents, usually the mother, provide food for the child. Therefore, it is obvious that the mother’s attitude to food will affect the child’s preferences. If the mother is concerned over health aspects of food she will work harder to make sure her child has a balanced diet. If the mother is less aware or less concerned over health issues such as obesity, she will take less care over the child’s diet. As expected, there is a significant correlation between the diets of mothers and children (Ogden, 2007). Parents, especially the mother, provide the key role models for the child.
Once the child reaches school, peers become more important. Studies have shown that modelling using admired peers can increase consumption of fruit and vegetables (Low, Dowey & Horne, 1998). Throughout childhood children are exposed to widespread food advertising television, using peer models, animation etc to make the food more attractive. This can be effective in developing preferences, but unfortunately advertised products tend to be high in fat and carbohydrates, probably contributing to problems such as childhood obesity. A common technique, used by many parents and based on operant conditioning, rewards consumption of a disliked food with a desired food- ‘you can have some ice cream if you eat your vegetables’. Unfortunately, studies have shown that whilst this technique may work in the short term it increases the desirability of the reward food and decreases the liking for the non-preferred food (Ogden, 2007, Birch, 1999). Similarly, punishing poor eating habits by denying access to a desired food simply increases the preference for the desired food. cultural influences;
* Eating concerns more prevalent with western women compared to eastern. * Body dissatisfaction and eating disorders become more prevalent as wealth/class demographically increases.
* Food choice takes place within a network of social meanings (Ogden, 2003). Eating behaviour cannot be reduced to the biopsychology of the individual choice of foods & eating behaviours also rely on social communication, individual identity, particularly cultural identity. -for example, the forbidding of foods in certain religions- beef. Fasting is also popular in some cultures.
* The consumption of food plays a central role in social interaction: -group identity, in part is created & maintained through food. -types of food are often described as traditional family meal, or the national dish (Ogden, 2003). -cultural differences will determine to an extent what food people in a certain culture will eat and what is acceptable to eat & how foods are prepared and consumed. -food can also be used for several purposes such as to affirm or develop personal...