HNE-30306 Psychobiology of Food Choice and Eating Behaviour


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Group work12
Course coordinator(s)prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. G Jager
dr. ir. VWT de Wild
Lecturer(s)dr. PAM Smeets
prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. G Jager
dr. ir. M Mars
dr. S Boesveldt
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. C de Graaf
dr. G Jager

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Courses on social/behavioral aspects of nutrition in the first two years of the BSc programma in Nutrition and Health; HNE-20306 Nutrition Behaviour.

Continuation courses:

Theses in Nutrition; Communication and Innovation; Marketing and Consumer Sciences.


This 6 credit course is focused on recent development in Nutrition Behaviour Research. The course will contain several parts:
- group assignment on a case study: students can choose one out of six possible topics;
- 20 lectures;
- a practical course where students will learn the basics of E-Prime®, a software program to create and run computerized questionnaire and experiments. Students will work in small groups (4-5 students), with the objective to design and make a simple questionnaire and a psychological experiment in order to study determinants of food habits/nutrition behaviour. At the end of the course, students give a presentation of the results,

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- to obtain knowledge and a deeper understanding of the complexity and multidisciplinary of many important issues in the psychobiology of food choice and eating behaviour. The group assignment aims at students display their ability to focus on different perspectives (e.g. nutritional, medical, social, psychological) and formulate a clear summary of relevant knowledge as part of a collectively built knowledgebase that contains knowledge elements from different perspectives;
- to develop skills in work planning, organization and division amongst group members, as well as time management, planning and presentation skills;
- as a group collectively create a knowledge base, using new media in the blackboard environment (e.g. wiki or comparable format);
- describe the most important characteristics of nutrition behaviour and food choice using cultural, social, psychological and biological models;
- apply the obtained knowledge to situations in industrialized as well as in developing countries;
- the learning outcome of the practical part is that students become familiar with a modern software tool used in research on eating behaviour. After the practicals students are expected to be able to design and construct simple questionnaires and experimental tasks which measures social psychological determinants of food choice;
-student are expected to present a comprehensive summary of their practical work to the participating staff;
-the learning outcome of the discussion groups is that students are expected to write a short paper and present a critical summary of the literature (3-5 scientific papers) with respect to one of the three available topics;
-in the discussion groups, student are also expected to lead a fruitful scientific discussion following their paper and presentation.


- follow lectures;
- involved in computer practical;
- involved in group assignment.


The assessment of this course will be based on:
- a written exam with open questions;
- two reports for the practical assignments.
Written exam and the reports will be weighed 67% and 33%, respectively.


The Psychology of Food Choice, Eds R. Shepherd and M Raats, University of Surrey, UK. 2006 384p. ISBN: 9781845937232 (price Euro 45,50).
There is also a hardback-version with ISBN: 9780851990323 (price Euro 121,50)
A Course reader will be available at WUR-shop, Forum.
Additional literature, documentation and tasks will be provided at practicals and also through the digital Blackboard learning environment of the course.

Restricted Optional for: MFTFood TechnologyMScG: Sensory Science5MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScB: Nutritional Physiology and Health Status5MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScA: Epidemiology and Public Health5MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScD: Sensory Science5MO
MNHNutrition and HealthMScC: Molecular Nutrition and Toxicology5MO