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Unit information: Nutrition and Behaviour in 2016/17

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Unit name Nutrition and Behaviour
Unit code PSYC31052
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1B (weeks 7 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Jeff Brunstrom
Open unit status Not open

Level 5 Psychology



School/department School of Psychological Science
Faculty Faculty of Life Sciences


The unit examines the inter-relationships between nutrition and behavior and their implications for health and psychological well-being. Major topics covered are appetite and weight control (including obesity and dieting); eating disorders; food preferences; dietary influences on mood and cognitive function; caffeine psychopharmacology; and food craving and "addiction". An underlying theme to these topics is the interplay of biological, psychological and social processes influencing behavior.

Intended learning outcomes

Key expected outcomes of the course are a critical understanding of eating behaviour (appetite and food choice) and the impact of diet on psychological functioning, and recognition of the contribution of psychology to this field. Related to this is an appreciation of the value of integrating ideas from different areas of psychology. Students will gain knowledge of the scientific methods used in the field of nutrition and behaviour, and will develop the ability to evaluate relevant contemporary research findings and theories. For students with little or no background in physiology or biology some early preparatory reading (e.g., Frayn, 1996) would be useful.

Teaching details

This unit comprises 18 x 60 minute lectures and 2 x 1 hr tutorials.

Assessment Details

Examination: 1 x 3 hour exam to include a seen examination component and MCQ examination

Final Grade: based on 25% MCQ and 75% seen exam

Reading and References


  • Capaldi, E. D. (1996). Why we eat what we eat: The psychology of eating. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. [Arts and Social Sciences Library TX355 WHY, 1 copy]
  • Frayn, K. N. (2010). Metabolic regulation: a human perspective. Wiley: Chichester. [Arts & Social Sciences Library, QP171FRA, and Medical Library D6f FRA, also available via Online access.]
  • Garrow, J.S. (ed.) (2000). Human nutrition and dietetics, 10th edition. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. [Medical Library D8d HUM, 2 copies; 9th edition, 5 copies] Hetherington, M. M. (Ed.) (2001). Food craving and addiction. Leatherhead: Leatherhead Publishing. [Arts & Social Sciences Library RC552.C65 FOO, 2 copies]
  • James, J.E. (1997). Understanding Caffeine: A biobehavioural analysis. Thousand Oaks CA.: Sage. [Arts & Social Sciences Library QP801.C24 JAM, 2 copies]
  • Kanarek, R.B. and Marks-Kaufman, R. (1991). Nutrition and behaviour: New perspectives. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold. [Arts & Social Sciences Library QP141 KAN, 2 copies?]
  • Lask, B. & Bryant-Waugh, R. (Eds.) (2000). Anorexia nervosa and related eating disorders in childhood and adolescence, 2nd edition. Hove UK: Psychology Press. [Arts & Social Sciences Library, RC552.A5 ANO 2 copies]
  • Logue, A.W. (1991). The psychology of eating and drinking: An introduction, 2nd edition. New York: W. H. Freeman. [Medical Library D8d2 LOG, 1 copy; Continuing Education Library HHP Log, 1 copy]
  • Mela, D.J. & Rogers, P.J. (1998). Food, eating and obesity: The psychobiological basis of appetite and weight control. London: Chapman and Hall. [Arts & Social Sciences Library RC62A MEL, 5 copies]
  • Blundell, J. E. and Bellisle, F. (Eds.) (2013). Satiation, satiety and the control of food intake: theory and practice. Oxford : Woodhead Publishing. [Arts & Social Sciences Library, QP136SAT, also available via Online access.]

NOTE: Other reviews will be recommended for the core topics covered in this unit.