The Psychology of Eating and Drinking

The Psychology of Eating and Drinking

The Psychology of Eating and Drinking

The Psychology of Eating and Drinking


Our fascination with eating and drinking behaviours and their causes has resulted in a huge industry of food-related pop science. Every bookstore and magazine stand is filled with publications promising to get your child to eat his vegetables, to tell you if someone you know has an eating disorder, or to show you how to lose weight. But the degree to which any of these works is based on scientific research is very limited: the information offered is at best incomplete and often simply incorrect. However, in contrast to this popular literature, the scientific research on eating and drinking behaviours is usually too technical for the general reader. Alexandra Logue's The Psychology of Eating and Drinking, Third Edition, is unique in being a textbook that can also be comprehended by the educated general reader. The first two editions, published by W.H. Freeman & Co. in 1985 and 1991, have become staples in undergraduate and graduate courses on eating and drinking behaviour, as well as in psychology of motivation courses; the publisher estimates that the second edition sold 10,000 copies. As in her past editions of this book, Logue grounds her investigation into the complex interactions between our physiology, our surroundings, and our eating and drinking habits in laboratory research and up-to-date scientific information. But while the chapter topics in the new edition have remained essentially the same, the book has been completely rewritten. The material within each chapter has been reorganized, updated, and written in a more accessible style designed to appeal more directly to the general reader. Detailed methodological material has been removed and additional examples and a lighter, more personal tone has been added. Without sacrificing the utility of the text for students, Logue has succeeded in providing the lay reader with a biological and psychological framework within which to understand his or her eating behaviours.


When I was a year old I stopped eating everything except bread and milk. For years my diet showed little improvement, and by 15 I was eating mostly meat, milk, potatoes, bread, orange juice, and desserts. I did not eat pizza, spaghetti, or any other food that I considered “foreign.” I avoided soda, fresh fruit (except bananas), vegetables (except peas, carrots, and beets), and cheese (except grilled American cheese sandwiches). Fish I regarded as poison.

My parents were not alarmed; I come from a long line of people with unusual food preferences. My mother, by choice, rarely served fresh fruit or fish at our home. She never served liver, which she hates, although my father loved it. He always ate. first the food he disliked most, and many times I saw him finish salad and string beans before touching baked potato and steak. When I was a child my mother frequently recounted to me how her grandfather would eat chocolate cupcakes but not cake made from the same batter; he said that the cake gave him indigestion.

At home my parents gave me vitamin pills and basically let me eat whatever I wanted. But everywhere else I had to contend with sticky social occasions in which I was served what I abhorred eating. Just imagine going to a birthday party and not being able to eat the soda and pizza that everyone else was eating.

Food aversions were not the only troubles of my youth. Food preferences also gave me problems. Although I disliked many things, when I did like a food I could eat it at any hour of the day or night. My Southern grandmother was happy to feed me fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and hot biscuits dripping with butter whenever I wished. It was not easy to keep my weight at a reasonable level. One of the most dangerous places for me was

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