Introduction to the Effect of Satiety on Infants’ Acceptance of Foods

Hi everyone!

My name is Kacie Burke, and I am a rising Junior at the College. Although many students have trouble deciding what field they want to study in college, I knew in high school that I wanted to major in Psychology. I did not know what area of Psychology I wanted to pursue until I took Developmental Psychology with Professor Forestell. As part of the class we had to conduct field observations at the local preschools and day cares. It was my field observation that motivated me to approach Professor Forestell about conducting research over the summer. Not only did I have such a great time playing with the children but I became intrigued by the patterns of behavior I noticed. During snack time, the parents always brought in three types of food including a healthy snack such as fruit, a sort of healthy snack such as crackers, and a sweet treat such as cookies. The dessert always disappeared first, followed by the crackers, while the fruit was always left to rot in the trash. I started to wonder why this was happening and what could be done to turn these children’s unhealthy eating patterns around. When Professor Forestell told me she was studying infants’ taste preferences and factors that affect their acceptance of different foods, I knew it was the perfect opportunity for me to learn about what I’ve observed during my field observations and contribute to the field.

This summer we will be investigating how an infant’s satiety affects his acceptance of palatable and unpalatable foods. In order to answer this question, we will repeatedly expose infants to a commercially available fruit or vegetable before and after they are fed cereal. Although fruits and vegetables have many of the same nutritional benefits, they differ substantively in taste and palatability. Research has shown that tasty and palatable foods may continue to be consumed despite satiety, leading to overconsumption and obesity (Yeomans, Blundell, & Lesham, 2004). Thus, the second goal of this study will be to determine whether hunger state interacts with food palatability to affect infants’ food acceptance patterns and hedonic responses.

This research is important because it not only shows how infants’ food preferences can be influenced by different factors but also how adept they are at regulating their own food intake. By working in Professor Forestell’s lab this summer I hope to contribute evidence-based strategies that will help children start and stay healthy. I am very excited to see what our study will show! Stay tuned this summer!

Comments

  1. This is very interesting. I will definately take time to read the rest of your posts. Good luck!