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Social Influences: Food Preference

Social influences on food preference include family (especially parents) and peers. Children observe the food preferences of their parents and research has shown there to be an association between parents’ and children’s general attitudes towards foods. Parents also provide the food that young children eat, and often positively reinforce their children for eating certain foods (operant conditioning). They may also reward children with certain foods (e.g. sweets) for producing certain behaviours, and this will also influence food preference. The behaviour of same-age peers also has an important impact on the food preferences of children.

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