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Gwendollyn Wind

2000 Research


Abstract: Cultural Differences in Food perception and Eating Attitudes between African American and European American Women
Mentor: Dr. Theresa Martin, Psychology


Until recently psychologists have all but ignored the relationship between food and psychological development. The fact alone that most adults spend two hours a day either eating or preparing to eat (Lyman 1989) lends to the idea that food and eating are important parts of everyday life. During childhood, we are bombarded with rules and attitudes about food. From "eat nice and don't make a mess" to "eat all of your food and you will grow big and strong" to the eve so popular "don't eat too much, or you will get fat" (Lyman 1989). In adulthood food becomes a way of differentiating between the various social classes. As adults we become aware of the lobster vs. meatloaf stigma, thus if you eat expensive foods you are thought to be higher on the social ladder, whereas if you eat easy to prepare, inexpensive food you are thought to be lower on the social ladder (Lyman 1989). In the end, our food choices can shape other's attitudes about us, which in turn shapes our attitudes about ourselves.

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