Learning to Eat
The Influence of Food Cues on What, When, and How Much We Eat
Humans must learn what to eat, when to eat, and how much to eat. This chapter reviews the evidence that sensory food cues such as the sight and smell of food become conditioned stimuli for the foods, the unconditioned stimuli, with which they are paired. Research on children and adults supports the contention that various kinds of food cues signal what, when, and how much to eat on any given occasion, and that some types of individuals, namely obese people and chronically dieting restrained eaters, are more responsive to these cues. The super-abundance of food cues in our current environments may well be signaling us to eat more often and larger amounts than we need, and they may be contributing to increased obesity.
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