Psychology Psychological Perspectives on Food and Eating
Alexandra W. Logue
  • LAST REVIEWED: 21 February 2023
  • LAST MODIFIED: 21 February 2023
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199828340-0308


Other than breathing, eating occupies a greater percentage of our time than any other activity. As omnivores, humans need to not only consume the correct amount of food, but a combination of foods containing all essential nutrients in proper proportion. At the same time, the food consumed must be lacking in poisons and other harmful substances. For these reasons, a good deal of human behavior is devoted to finding and consuming an appropriate diet. Consequently, there has been an enormous amount of research conducted concerning humans and eating. When that research has involved the behaviors involved in how we eat and what is eaten, such research falls within the discipline of psychology. Understanding how and why we eat as we do is an interdisciplinary endeavor, involving many research specialties within the overall discipline of psychology, in addition to research conducted as part of other disciplines. The present bibliography provides an overview and a sampling of the psychological research on food and eating. This bibliography includes sections concerned with the basic processes involved in how much is eaten (hunger and satiety), as well as with the basic processes involved in choosing what to eat (taste, smell, and food preferences and aversions). Two additional sections consider some of the formal models regarding how foods are chosen, and how food can affect behavior. Two further sections concern eating disorders—situations in which, even though appropriate food is available, humans consume food in ways that are harmful to their health. A final section concerns psychological perspectives on cuisine and influences on our eating by the food industry.

Overview Sources

The psychology of eating is a huge field and so there are few sources of information that directly concern the field as a whole. However, there are a few sources to which someone may turn to obtain general information. Among such sources are the books The Psychology of Eating and Drinking (4th ed.) (Logue 2015) and Handbook of Eating and Drinking (Meiselman 2020), as well as the journal Appetite, and the professional organization Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB).

  • Appetite.

    The international, interdisciplinary journal Appetite includes articles on all types of eating and drinking research, including all sorts of topics and methodologies. There are articles concerning humans’ as well as other animals’ consumption, normal as well as disordered eating and drinking, and findings from laboratory as well as real-world studies.

  • Logue, A. W. 2015. The psychology of eating and drinking. 4th ed. New York: Routledge.

    This book explores the research behind how and why we eat and drink what we do. This is the only book to provide an educated reader with a broad, scientific understanding of weight loss, picky eating, food cravings, and many other topics within the field of the psychology of eating.

  • Meiselman, H. L., ed. 2020. Handbook of eating and drinking: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature.

    This book consists of a series of edited chapters on many of the basic topics concerning how and why eating and drinking occur.

  • Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior SSIB.

    SSIB is a professional organization which facilitates research on consumption of food and drink and the mechanisms responsible for those behaviors. SSIB was founded in 1987, and is uniquely dedicated to research on all aspects of eating behavior.

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