Psychology Course Helps Eaters Understand Food Choices

What’s on your plate? And why?

Fast food, Paleo, locavore, vegan, raw, gluten-free: every time we eat, most Americans select from a vast array of choices. This fall, PSYC 461: Food for Thought: Psychology of Eating looks at all of the choices we face, helps us understand why we choose our foodways, and studies the effects of those choices.

Course professor Doris Bitler Davis explains, “People all have their own habits, some of which are very conscious and based on careful thought, and some of which they probably cannot articulate why they choose the way they do.” 

The course takes into account cultural norms, allergies, health issues, and food scarcity as factors that influence the way we fill our plates.

In addition, the course looks at the consequences of our food choices, including obesity, environmental effects, the availability of food for other people, and social justice consequences.

Professor Bitler Davis emphasizes that the course does not advocate one particular choice or type of diet. Instead, she says, “The course is intended to give the students knowledge about the impact of their choices on themselves, and maybe some impacts they hadn’t thought about.”

The course is project-based, with no traditional exams, and students can tailor their projects to reflect their own food-related interests. Class times are Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:30 - 2:45 pm. You can add this course to your schedule until September 8.