Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



An ubiquitous assumption about food intake behavior is that people eat the types of foods that they crave and prefer. Food preferences reflect hedonic ratings of the degree to which people like certain foods. The present study investigated the association of food cravings and hedonic ratings with food intake behavior, assessed in the laboratory with a Universal Eating Monitor (Kissileff, Klingsberg, & Van Itallie, 1980). The study sample consisted of 162 adults who completed the Food Craving Inventory (FCI; White, Whisenhunt, Williamson, Greenway, & Netemeyer, 2001), a questionnaire that measures craving, including cravings for specific types of foods (i.e., High Fats, Sweets, Carbohydrates/Starches, and Fast Food Fats). Also, participants completed the Food Preference Questionnaire (FPQ; Geiselman et al., 1998), which assesses preference for fat and provides hedonic ratings of foods that vary in fat and carbohydrate content. Finally, participants completed the Three Factor Eating Questionnaire (TFEQ; Stunkard & Messick,1985), which assesses Dietary Restraint, Disinhibition and Perceived Hunger. The subscales of the FCI and FPQ were correlated with intake of the test food (i.e., cheesecake) during a test lunch conducted in a laboratory. The results revealed that the correlations of food cravings and hedonic ratings with food intake were relatively small, indicating that people do not eat large quantities of the types of foods that they crave and rate as liking. To explore the construct of food cravings, the subscales of the FCI, FPQ, and TFEQ were correlated. The pattern of correlations provided support for the concurrent and discriminant validity of the FCI, and the data indicated that the construct of food craving is very similar to hunger. The present study investigated other aspects of food intake behavior, including cumulative food intake curves. Cumulative food intake curves represent food intake as a function of time and are categorized as either decelerated (i.e., eating rate decreases during the meal) or linear (i.e., eating rate remains steady during the meal). The present study failed to replicate the association of Dietary Restraint with linear cumulative food intake curves. Furthermore, a relation between Disinhibition and body mass with decelerated curves was detected.



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Committee Chair

Donald A. Williamson



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Psychology Commons