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A Person's Emotional Response To Food

1412 words - 6 pages

Since the beginning of time, food has been a necessity of life. Eventually, it became a pleasurable necessity of life as the Romans would throw private parties where they would entertain a small group of guests and serve a feast full of Roman delicacies. Since then food has become an emotional aspect of our lives. Certain foods, such as cakes and cookies, might create a pleasurable experience for an individual, while other foods, such as vegetables and seafood, might create an unpleasant experience for them. In addition, people might tend to eat a certain type of food or certain amount of food depending on the emotional state that they are in. It is also becoming more apparent in society that people tend to have unhealthy eating behaviors when they are experiencing negative emotions, such as sadness or anger. Despite what one may think, humans have a pretty strong emotional relationship with food.
A person’s emotional response to food can vary to many different emotions; some pleasant and some unpleasant. In one part of a study, participants were given a questionnaire to answer questions pertaining to what emotions they experienced in response to food (Desmet & Schifferstein, 2008). The questionnaire was included a total of twenty-two emotions that had an even number of eleven pleasant and eleven unpleasant emotions. In the questionnaire, all twenty-two emotions were judged on the relevance of experiencing each emotion from eating or tasting food. Each emotion was rated on a five-point scale which ranged from one being “never” (never have experienced this emotion from eating or tasting food) to five being “very often” (very often experience this emotion from eating or tasting food) (Desmet & Schifferstein, 2008). As the results from the graph below show, emotions such as satisfaction, enjoyment, desire, boredom, disappointment, and dissatisfaction were the emotions that participants report that they experienced the most; whereas emotions such as relief, hope, admiration, fear, sadness, and anger were less reported (Desmet & Schifferstein, 2008).
Emotions can also impact a person’s food preferences, the amount of food consumed, and eating behaviors. These behaviors include impulsive eating, sensory eating, and hedonic eating (Macht, 1999). Impulsive eating is when an individual eats any available type of food in a hasty, irregular, and reckless manner. When an individual eats an abnormal amount of food with strong, prominent flavors (such as salty or acidic) or when they eat hard foods to help distract themselves, it is called sensory eating. Hedonic eating is when a person eats solely for the pleasure of the food or because the food is considered to be viewed as healthy. The graph below shows the results of a questionnaire study that compared the eating behaviors that the participants reported that they had experienced when feeling sadness, fear, anger, or joy compared to just feeling hunger (Macht, 1999). The controlled variable of hunger was...

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