Why do we make poor food choices?

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44 min listen

The psychology of why we eat the food that we do, even if it isn’t good for us, provides a unique insight into human behaviour. Is it our personality, our upbringing, or the stimulus that we are exposed to that control our choices and have us reaching for the unhealthy options? Why do we so commonly make poor food choices?

In the first in a series delving into the psychology of food choices and eating behaviours we join Professor Jacqueline Blissett, Chair in Childhood Eating Behaviour, Co-Director of Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment, Aston University Early Career Researcher Facilitator and Patrick Fagan, Associate Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour, Goldsmith and Lecturer in Consumer Psychology, University of the Arts London to explore why we make the choices we do, and how we can make better choices in the future.

About our panel

Professor Jacqueline Blissett, Chair in Childhood Eating Behaviour, Co-Director of Aston Institute of Health and Neurodevelopment, Aston University Early Career Researcher Facilitator

I have been working in the field of children’s eating behaviour for over twenty years. In that time much of my research has focussed on the biological, affective and cognitive factors of parents and their children which influence parent-child interaction, particularly in the context of feeding and eating problems. I have a particular interest in children’s fussy eating including poor fruit and vegetable acceptance, emotional eating, and obesity.

My broad research interests are:

  • Early origins of children’s emotional eating
  • Breastfeeding, complementary feeding practices, childhood feeding practices
  • Development of flavour preferences
  • Individual differences in sensory processing, particularly of taste
  • Children’s fruit and vegetable consumption
  • Feeding problems and eating behaviour in children with disorders such as autism
  • Maternal mental health and parent child interaction
  • Infant gut microbiome: relationships with early diet and infant development
  • Fetal facial expression in response to flavour stimuli in utero
  • Cultural differences in feeding and eating behaviour

Patrick Fagan, Associate Lecturer in Consumer Behaviour, Goldsmith and Lecturer in Consumer Psychology, University of the Arts London

Patrick is a behavioural scientist who specialises in ‘turning minds into money’ – that is, practically applying psychological science for commercial outcomes. On the academic side, Patrick is a part-time lecturer at two universities, has authored papers on topics from facial expressions to Facebook psychology, and published a book on comms psychology with Pearson. On the commercial side, he has been consulting and running research for blue-chip clients for over a decade, and was previously Lead Psychologist at Cambridge Analytica. He is now Chief Scientific Officer at behavioural science outfit Capuchin.

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