• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss two or more evolutionary explanations of food preferences (8+16 marks)

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐ESSAY: Discuss two or more evolutionary explanations of food preferences (8+16 marks) Evolutionary explanations suggest that we crave the food that we do because it provides some use for our survival. It suggests that the decisions we made in the environment of evolutionary adaptation (EEA ? when we last majorly involved) shape the decisions we make now about food. This suggests that taste is predetermined and universal. A preference for meat in modern diets is thought to have developed because humans in the EEA, according to fossil records, primarily consumed animal-based foods eg. Liver, kidney etc. Plants were eaten as well when they were available, but forests were in decline. Meat based diets had advantages, as it provided a lot of energy and proteins, which help the brain to grow. There has been research to support this, Stanford?s research showed that Chimpanzees were found to go for the fattiest parts of the kill when struggling to find food. ...read more.


There is evidence of how our eating behavior shaped our food aversions and food preferences was learnt in the EEA. Evidence has shown that we avoid foods, which are poisonous to us, and we link the smell of ?off? foods to illness, and consequently taste aversion. These aversions would have helped our ancestors to survive, as once we learn these foods are bad, we are unlikely to consume then further. There is also evidence that animals can learn a preference that makes them healthier, with any food eaten just before recovery from illness is then preferred in the future. This is called the ?medicine effect? as humans learnt to associate certain foods with feeling better i.e. Curing illness. Animal research supports taste aversions, as rats that were given saccharin and exposed to radiation, which made them feel ill, then associated the saccharin with illness, refusing to eat it again. ...read more.


It is reductionist to assume that all our food preferences and aversions come directly from the EEA, as human food preferences in the modern world are very diverse. This suggests that, as mentioned before, food preferences and aversions may be learnt rather than evolved. This can also be supported as evidence suggests that a higher cholesterol was favored in the EEA to help brain function, however we now avoid cholesterol, because of some of the negative repercussions. This suggests that although nature may have had a significant effect on our consumption of high cholesterol foods, our nurture has taught us to avoid this instead, again suggesting that some food aversions are learnt rather than evolved. AO1 AO2/3 AO2/3 IDA On balance, it is difficult to establish whether our food preference has an evolutionary basis or not. It is clear that some food preferences may have obviously been beneficial for ancestral survival, but then again, some food preferences may be learnt in the modern world instead. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Physiological Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Physiological Psychology essays

  1. Discuss and evaluate the evolutionary explanations of food preferences

    Food preference is also affected by food neophobia, this is the avoidance of foods that are unfamiliar. This would mean that people would only eat foods that they are familiar with. Frost suggested that people tend to show greater liking for foods as they became more familiar.'

  2. Outline and evaluate evolutionary explanations for food preferences.

    Animals are very different to humans and therefore the findings cannot be generalised to the human population. However, it is clear that salt is important in both human and animal diets. Foods that are either bitter or sour are not preferential foods for humans as the evolutionary theory suggests they

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work