Ingestive Behaviour Group Seminar: Samantha Spanos

This week’s Ingestive Behaviour Group Seminar talk was given by Samantha Spanos, a visiting Doctoral Researcher from the University of New South Wales. Samantha is working with the Eating Behaviour research group here at the University of Birmingham for 6 months, and presented some of the work she’s conducted as part of her PhD so far.

If you would like to see her slides, they can be downloaded here .

The next seminar will be on the Wednesday 26th October at 11am in Frankland 305. Doctoral Researcher Rosie Satherley will be presenting her thesis on disordered eating, attitudes and behaviours in coeliac disease.

Congratulations to Dr Jason Thomas, Jinyu Liu and Dr Suzanne Higgs about their recent publication!

The effects of liking norms and descriptive norms on vegetable consumption: a randomised experiment.

The work published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, section Eating Behavior  (Impact Factor = 2.560)

Abstract: There is evidence that social norm messages can be used to promote the selection of fruit and vegetables in low habitual consumers of these foods but it is unclear whether this effect is sustained over time. It is also unclear whether information about others’ liking for a food (liking norm) could have the same effect. Using a 2 x 5 x 2 experimental design we investigated the effects of exposure to various messages on later intake from a food buffet and whether any effects were sustained 24 hours after exposure in both low and high consumers of vegetables. There were three factors: delay (immediate food selection versus food selection 24 hours after exposure), message type (liking norm, descriptive norm, health message, food-based vegetable variety control, and neutral control message) and habitual consumption (low versus high). The buffet consisted of three raw vegetables, three energy-dense foods and two dips. For vegetables and non-vegetables there were no main effects of message type, nor any main effect of delay. There was a significant message x habitual vegetable consumption interaction for vegetable consumption; however, follow up tests did not yield any significant effects. Examining each food individually, there were no main effects of message type, nor any main effect of delay, for any of the foods; however, there was a message x habitual vegetable consumption interaction for broccoli. Consumption of broccoli in the health message and descriptive norm conditions did not differ from the control neutral condition. However, habitually low consumers of vegetables increased their consumption of broccoli in the food-based vegetable variety control and liking norm conditions relative to habitual low vegetable consumers in the neutral control condition (p < 0.05). Further investigation of the effects of the liking norm and vegetable variety message on vegetable intake is warranted.

The paper ”The effects of liking norms and descriptive norms on vegetable consumption: a randomised experiment” can be read here  and was co-authored by: Eric L. Robinson (Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom), Paul Aveyard (Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, United Kingdom) and C. Peter Herman (Department of Psychology, University of Toronto, Canada).




Ingestive Behaviour Group Talk: Wednesday 16th March, 10 am, Frankland 305

Our last Ingestive Behaviour Seminar Series talk for this term will be next Wednesday the 16th of March at 10:00 am in Room 305 in Frankland Building.
Master students Grace Houlders and Katie Knowles will be giving a talk on: Using social norm messages to prevent dissatisfaction associated with reduced portion size”.
Looking forward to seeing you all there!

Research participants required for an online study-Get the chance to win a £50 Amazon gift voucher!


Eating patterns and Psychological Characteristics in Adults with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or symptoms of ADHD 

Adults between 18-60 years old with or without ADHD are required.

Just click the link below and complete a brief online survey.

It will last less than 40 minutes.

You can choose to enter into a prize draw to win a £50 gift voucher if you wish. 

 Many thanks for your collaboration. 

If you want any further information please contact the researcher Panagiota Kaisari:

Congratulations! New research published by Dr Suzanne Higgs

S01956663Cognitive processing of food rewards

The work published in the journal Appetite (Impact Factor = 2.7) by Dr Suzanne Higgs

Abstract: Cues associated with tasty foods, such as their smell or taste, are strong motivators of eating, but the power of food cues on behaviour varies from moment to moment and from person to person. Variation in the rewarding value of a food with metabolic state explains why food cues are more attractive when hungry. However, cognitive processes are also important determinants of our responses to food cues. An urge to consume a tempting food may be resisted if, for example, a person has a longer term goal of weight loss. There is also evidence that responses to food cues can be facilitated or inhibited by memory processes. The aim of this review is to add to the literature on cognitive control of eating by reviewing recent evidence on the influence of working memory and episodic memory processes on responses to food cues. It is argued that processing of food information in working memory affects how much attention is paid to food cues in the environment and promotes the motivation to seek out food in the absence of direct contact with food cues. It is further argued that memories of specific recent eating episodes play an important role in directing food choices and influencing when and how much we eat. However, these memory processes are prone to disruption. When this happens, eating behaviour may become more cue-driven and less flexible. In the modern food environment, disruption of cognitive processing of food reward cues may lead to overconsumption and obesity.

The paper “Cognitive processing of food rewardscan be read here