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Appetite. 1993 Feb;20(1):33-52.

Gender and age differences in food cognition.

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Dept. of Psychology, Kansas State University, Manhattan 66506.


Results from three studies relevant to a model of food cognition based on the evaluative dimensions pleasure, health, and convenience are reported. In the first study, discriminant analyses of the evaluative ratings (n = 248) of 35 meals and snacks yielded significant gender and age differences on the pleasure and health dimensions. Separate factor analyses of the pleasure and health ratings revealed that males and females grouped foods differently on these criteria. The factor analysis of convenience ratings suggested that males and females perceive the meaning of convenience differently. In the second study, 336 college students rated 27 meals on the three evaluative dimensions and also indicated their preferences for each meal. Multiple regression analyses showed that preferences could be significantly predicted, and other results showed that as compared to males, females give higher health, pleasure and convenience ratings to healthy meals. The third study employed a modified free association technique to investigate gender and age differences in the meanings of nine familiar foods. Data from 96 males and females aged 18 to 86 revealed a substantial variety of significant age and gender differences for specific foods. It is suggested that taken together, these results indicate important cognitive and affective sources for gender and age-related food attitudes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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