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Health Psychol. 2008 Sep;27(5):533-8. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.27.5.533.

Are we aware of the external factors that influence our food intake?

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychology, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York 13244-2340, USA. lrvartan@syr.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This research examines the extent to which people accurately report some of the external influences on their food intake.

DESIGN:

In two studies, specific factors (the presence and behavior of others) were manipulated in order to influence the amount of food that individuals consumed.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

The main outcomes of interest were participants' spontaneously generated explanations for their food intake (Study 1; n = 122), and their ratings of the importance of several potential determinants of food intake (Study 2; n = 75).

RESULTS:

In Study 1, there was high concordance between the amounts eaten by members of a dyad, but very few participants indicated that they were influenced by their partner's behavior; they instead identified hunger and taste as the primary determinants of intake. Study 2 showed that participants' intake was strongly influenced by the behavior of others, but people rated taste and hunger as much more important influences on their intake.

CONCLUSIONS:

If external environmental factors influence people's food intake without their awareness or acknowledgment, then maintaining a healthy diet can be a challenge, with long-term consequences for health and well-being.

PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2008 APA, all rights reserved.

PMID:
18823179
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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