Eating disorders are distressing and serious psychiatric illnesses involving disordered eating patterns and/or unhealthy strategies to control weight . In past decades, prevalence rates of eating disorders have globally increased by 25%. These serious disorders can lead to many physical and psychological problems for the individual (e.g., malnutrition, low self-esteem) and, in some cases, death . Additionally, the development of eating disorders involves an interaction between biological (e.g., genes), psychological (e.g., negative thoughts), and social (e.g., bullying) factors . However, while research mainly focuses on the factors involved in the development of eating disorders like Anorexia Nervosa (AN) and Bulimia Nervosa (BN), there is currently an understudied psychological phenomenon that may be an indication of disordered eating development: picky eating.
As humans, we are hardwired to seek out situations that meet our biological needs. We attribute the most time and energy to circumstances that simultaneously provide physiological and psychological satisfaction. Among these circumstances are opportunities to eat. On a daily basis, we invest a great deal of monetary resources into food, and we take pleasure in fantasizing about our next great feast. These primal instincts are under the control one of the body’s most important systems: circadian rhythms.
The Internet is filled with animal videos like a cat scurrying into the kitchen after hearing a bag of treats shake or a dog doing a bizarre trick to get some food. Besides these videos being quite entertaining, they also demonstrate how animals can gain an understanding of their environment. Due to this fundamental ability to learn, animals can produce these remarkable—and, of course, cute—responses.
Picture yourself in a room stripped of windows and light sources with no alarm clocks, cell phones, or television. Under complete darkness and in the absence of external cues, how would you be able to tell time? How would you know when to sleep or wake-up? Would it affect your mood? It turns out, your body would maintain rhythms of behavior and physiological processes that last around 24-hours, because of your internal circadian clocks.
Our globalized market has an abundance of brands that we, consumers can choose from. Not only do we get bombarded with a variety of brands in our local grocery store, but we also see even more when travelling and through social media. Consequently, these factors can affect our prior experience and exposure on which brands we become familiar with. Are our brand choices and decisions in the local grocery store voluntary or are we simply subject to subconscious processes in the brain? Our tendency to show preference for things that are familiar to us can be due to certain cognitive processes such as memory and object recognition. In our study, we investigated if these processes can explain our brand familiarity.