Psychobiology of Food Choice and Eating Behaviour - Emotions, food choice and eating behaviour

9 important questions on Psychobiology of Food Choice and Eating Behaviour - Emotions, food choice and eating behaviour

Why study emotions and food?

  • Emotions are omnipresent, also in food appraisal
  • many products taste good, have good nutrient quality, similar utilitarian product attributes and benefits
  • product may distinguish itself on emotional properties -> try to communicate an emotion with a product -> e.g., CocaCola Happiness

How to measure emotions?

Research Question determines the instrument.
- explicit vs implicit
- verbal vs non-verbal
- physiological changes > experienced emotion > behaviour 

There are psychological methods and physiological methods:

What are some often used questionnaired with emotions/mood?

  • Profile of mood state (POMS); 65 adjectives.
    • to diagnose people with mood disorders
    • focus on negative emotions: tension, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion, vigour
  • Multiple Affective Check List (MAACL); 66 adjectives
    • also focuses on negative
    • anxiety, depression, hostility, ssensation seeking, positive affects

>> not very helpful for food related research, since you have not much negative feelings towards food
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What about emotions related to food?

  • Basic emotions > generally negative (angry, fear, sad)
  • discrete emotions > many do not seem to be relevant for food
  • POMS, MAACL > generally negative
  • is this useful? No

What are Temporal Dynamics of Emotions (TDE)?

Emotions are a series of dynamic events that unfold over time, not a single discrete response
- challenge: static instruments result in "snapshots"

How to measure emotions by observations behaviour?

  • Monitoring facial expressions
  • Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM)
  • PrEmo
    • non-verbal
    • culture-independent
    • mixed emotions

Food -> mood
Changes in appetite

Immediate change in relation to food consumption

Food -> mood
Sensory effects

Hedonic attributes
Sweet tastes influence mood by activating neural substrates of reward in the brain.
Endogenous opiods (endorphins) are released during stress and alleviate pain

Food -> mood
Sensory effects + cognitive expectations

Hedonic responses - (un)pleasantness -> negative/positive mood

- perceived sweetness of a 0 energy drink was correlated with changes in plasma glucose levels
- intensity of negative mood after eating energy dense foods in small amounts was stronger in obese than in non-obese subjects

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