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The Acquisition of Likes and Dislikes for Foods PAUL ROZIN and APRIL FALLON In the act of eating, substances from the outside world enter the body through the mouth. For all practical purposes, the last opportunity for food selection is presented when these substances reach the mouth; it is difficult to reject them once they have passed through the mouth. Since the substances that enter the mouth may contain essential nutrients, toxins, or handful microorganisms, it is not surprising that the acts of tasting, eating, and swallowing are laden with emotion. This is particularly true for humans, who, as omnivores, ingest a wide variety of substances. Humans and other food generalists must discover which of the various substances in the environment are beneficial or harmful. There is no way of coding most of this information in the genes; there are just too many different kinds of edible and inedible substances. Rather, food generalists rely on their abilities to evaluate substances in terms of their postingestional consequences. It is a basic feature of these species, including humans, that they have minimal genetic determination of food recognition. At birth, the human infant has a few genetically programmed biases, such as a positive response to sweet tastes and a negative response to bitter, irritant, and perhaps other very strong tastes (e.g., Cowart, 19811. With the exception of these few innate rejections, children in our culture up to approximately 2 years of age seem to regard everything as potentially edible. Therefore, a major challenge of early development is learning what not to eat (Rozin et al., in press). Maturation, individual experience, and cultural and familial influences build on a minimal biological base so that by early adulthood, humans in every culture have acquired a culturally 58

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES ED DISLIKES FOR FOODS 59 based set of beliefs and attitudes that enable them to categorize substances with respect to edibility. PSYCHOLOGICAL CATEGORIES OF ACCEPTED AND REJECTED FOOD SUBSTANCES Through interviews and questionnaires, we explored the psychological categorization of substances as foods and nonfoods in American culture (Fallon and Rozin, 1983; Rozin and Fallon, 1980, 19811. Three basic types of reasons for acceptance or rejection of objects emerged: (1) sensory properties of a substance; (2) anticipated consequences of ingestion; and (3) ideas about the nature or origin of the substance. Each of these reasons in one form motivates acceptance and in the opposite form motivates rejection (Table 11. 'rhis simplified system emphasizes the principal feature motivating acceptance or rejection. Certainly, many choices are deter- mined by more than one of these factors, as when one accepts milk because it both tastes good (a sensory property) and promotes health (anticipated consequences). Sensory Properties Some items are rejected or accepted primarily because of their sensory effects in the mouth or because of their odor or appearance. Accepted items are "good tastes" and rejected items are "distastes" (Table 1~. (We use the word tastes loosely here to include all mouth sensations, including the odor of the food in the mouth.) Good tastes and distastes, by definition, produce appropriate positive and negative feelings (like or dislike). These feelings can be acquired or innately associated with certain objects (e.g., acceptance of sweet tastes, rejection of bitter); others are acquired. Substances that a person likes or dislikes on the basis of their sensory effects are almost always acceptable foods in the person's culture. Differences in preference for these substances among members of the same culture probably account for most variations in food preference within a culture (e.~., liking or disliking lima beans). Anticipated Consequences Some substances are accepted or rejected as food primarily because of anticipated consequences of ingestion. These could be the pleasant feeling of satiation or rapid-onset unpleasant effects, such as nausea, cramps, and allergic responses (e.g., rashes). The consequences could also be delayed effects, involving beliefs and attitudes about the health value of substances

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60 Id - c~ D :' V, A) C) Cal C) O O I 1 o - C\5 ~0 - Cal ._ ~4 o - o U. PA me, ~ e.~5 o i; Cot 0 C) .i to .o of ~ lo. a t> Cal U) a ~ A. ~o o _ ~ O ~ =:o + + + + + ~ ~- U, 4} C) ..= ~ ~ . ~ 0~ ~ `,- e a . . ~ S ~ ~ ~ Ce ~ ~ ~ ~ O O . . Cal - D" + [S] C ._ ~ ._ + lo- . . ~ .5 i~ u~ . . 4.) c - . - cL r: c~ - ~ cO + . . ~ x () ~ . . u' ~ ~ ~ ._ . . - - . e ~ m~ ~: 4, 00 ~: ~ . _ ~ Ct~ o~ - c o _ es _ 00 - 0 ~ ~ C" = C ~ Co . _ C~ ns <~

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES AND DlSLlKES FOR FOODS 61 (such as vitamins or low-fat foods on the positive side or potential car- cinogens on the negative side). In some cases, culturally transmitted knowledge about a food (e.g., that it is carcinogenic) accounts for rejec- tion, in which case there is an ideational component to the rejection (see Table 1~. Anticipated consequences need not be physiological; they may be social, such as expected changes in social status as a consequence of eating or not eating a food. In Table 1, substances that are accepted on the basis of their anticipated consequences are in the beneficial category, whereas those that are rejected for similar reasons are listed in the danger category. There may or may not be a liking for the taste of these items. Ideational Factors Some substances are rejected or accepted primarily because of our knowledge of the nature or source of the item. Ideational factors predom- inate in many food rejections but are rarely central in acceptance. Cate- gones of foods accepted because of knowledge concerning their nature or origin are what we call appropriate and transvalued. These are discussed in the last section of this chapter. We distinguished two subcategories of ideational rejections: those based on the inappropriateness of an item and those that elicit disgust. Inappro- priate items are considered inedible within a culture and are refused simply on this basis. Grass and sand are examples. There is no presumption Cat these items taste bad, and a person usually regards them as neutral and inoffensive. In contrast, substances in the subcategory of disgust evoke a strong negative emotional response, are offensive, and are thought to have unpleasant tastes, although in most instances they have never been tasted. Feces, insects, worms, and meat from reptiles and dogs are examples found in American culture. (A third type of ideational rejection, not men- tioned in Table 1, is based on respect; a species of animal is rejected as food because it is a totem or has some special sacred properties.) DEVELOPMENT OF ADULT PREFERENCES AND ATTITUDES TOWARD FOOD The infant's simple acceptance or rejection of substances on the basis of their taste (sensory) properties develops into the rather elaborate adult system of preferences and attitudes toward foods. In this chapter, we consider what is known about the circumstances in which objects come to have good or bad tastes, in contrast to those in which they are accepted or rejected on the basis of anticipated consequences or ideational factors. Three contrasting pairs of categories are examined: distaste and danger;

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62 WHAT FACTORS SHAPE EATING PATTERNS? good taste and beneficial; and disgust and inappropriate. In each case, the first of He pair involves an emotional response (taste like or dislike), but the second of the pair does not. Distaste Versus Danger Many initially acceptable items are later rejected some because they are recategor~zed from good to bad tastes, others because a person learns that they are dangerous. What determines whether an object will acquire one or both of these properties? Humans, rats, and many other omnivores learn rapidly to avoid foods that make them sick. One episode of becoming ill minutes to hours after ingesting a new food is sufficient in most cases to motivate avoidance (Garcia et al., 1974; Rozin and Kalat, 19711. We explored more than 200 instances of acquired rejections of food repotted in questionnaires by people who had associated certain foods with unpleasant events such as food poisoning, food allergies, appearance of the symptoms of an infec- tious disease (e.g., the flu) shortly after eating, and falling down or having an accident while eating (Pelchat and Rozin, 1982; Rozin and Fallon, 1980~. If nausea or vomiting followed consumption of a food, a person would usually come to dislike its taste, but if other negative events occurred (e.g., gut cramps, headache, hives, difficulty breathing) in the absence of nausea, a person tended to avoid the food, but not dislike its taste. This contrast can be illustrated by typical cases of two people who avoid apples. One has an allergy to apples and develops a skin rash or respiratory distress after eating them. Such a person will avoid apples as dangerous while liking their taste. If the allergy could be treated, this person would be delighted to consume apples. The other person originally liked apples, but became sick and vomited after eating them. This person will typically dislike the taste of apples and avoid them, although realizing that they are in fact not dangerous and were perhaps not even the cause of the sickness. Although these findings suggest that nausea is a critical factor in de- tennining whether a food will become distasteful, it is unlikely that most acquired distastes were once associated with nausea. Fewer than half of the questionnaire respondents could remember even one instance of a food avoidance based on nausea, and these same people had many distastes. Presumably, then, many persons who dislike foods like lima beans, fish, and broccoli are doing so for reasons as yet undiscovered. Although adults often consider the same food as both distasteful and dangerous, in many instances they distinguish these two categories. For children younger than 8 years, however, there is a tendency to confound

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES AND DISLIKES FOR FOODS 63 the categories; such children often believe that if a food is bad for them, it will also taste bad (Fallon et al., 19841. Good Taste Versus Beneficial There is no single cause of acquired good tastes that has the salience or potency that nausea has as a cause for acquired distastes. The overriding empirical relation in the study of acquired likes is that exposure tends to increase liking. Zajonc (1968) in his "mere exposure" theory has sug- gested that exposure is a sufficient condition for liking. Enhanced liking of foods resulting from exposure has been demonstrated in the laboratory for both children (Birch and Marlin, 1982) and adults (Pliner, 19821. However, overexposure can result in a diminution of liking (e.g., Stang, 19751. It is also not clear whether "mere exposure" is sufficient or whether it allows another process to occur (such as those mentioned below). There is evidence that other specific factors could increase liking. A critical variable might be We "opposite" of nausea, such as the pleasant feeling of fullness and satiation after eating. Booth and his colleagues (Booth, 1982; Booth et al., 1982) have demonstrated that rapid satiety enhances preference and liking in rats and humans. A study on die ac- quisition of liking for flavors of a variety of medicines provided no evi- dence that any odler postingestional effects (e.g., fever reduction, reduction in heartburn) enhance the liking for flavors (Pliner et al., in press). A1- though satiety seems to be specifically linked with the generation of good tastes, its effect is much less striking than the effect of nausea on distastes. There are certainly other causes of acquired good tastes. For example, a neutral food or flavor can become liked if it is associated with an already liked food or flavor through the process of Pavlovian conditioning. This has been demonstrated by Zellner et al. (1983), whose subjects tasted flavor A in a sweet, palatable beverage and flavor B in an unsweetened, less palatable beverage. In subsequent tests, the same subjects liked flavor A more than flavor B. even when both flavors were served ire the un- sweetened form. One problem with assigning a primary role for satiety, other postinges- tional effects, or flavor-flavor associations in the acquisition of liking for foods is that it has been very difficult to establish strong acquired pref- erences in animals, in contrast to the ease in production of avoidances (Rozin et al., 1979; Zahonk, 1979; but see Booth, 19821. If physiological effects or positive flavor associations were indeed the main determinant of liking, one would expect animals to exhibit the phenomenon as well as humans. Again, there are almost certainly other causes of acquiring good tastes.

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64 WHAT FACTORS SHAPE EATING PA~lTERNS? Given the high frequency of acquired likes in humans, but not in other animals, we are inclined to assign an important role to social and cultural factors. Cultural forces exert a powerful control on the availability of food and hence on exposure. Insofar as exposure per se leads to preference, this alone would be a substantial effect of culture. In addition, the social forces that in general account for the transmission of cultural values pre- sumably operate in the domain of food. Thus, for example, social pressure may initially induce a child to consume a socially approved food; later other social forces may induce an acquired like (good taste), so that social pressure is no longer necessary to maintain ingestion. This sequence clearly describes what occurs in our culture with the individual's acceptance of cigarettes. Some evidence suggests that the apparent liking of a food by respected people (e.g., parents, older peers) is a critical sociocultural factor. Pre- school children tend to increase their preference for a particular snack if the teacher uses the snack itself as a reward, thereby indicating that the teacher has a high opinion of the object (Birch et al., 1980~. Mere exposure in a nonsocial sewing (e.g., when the food item is placed in the child's locker every day) did not produce an increased liking. Other evidence for the importance of the perceived social value of a food comes from research on decreases in liking for food. How can an object of intrinsic value (which we call a liked object) lose some of this value? One answer is that if children believe that they eat something for extrinsic reasons (such as achieving a desired reward), this belief tends to destroy the intrinsic (liked) value of the food (topper, 19801. When preschool children were rewarded for eating a particular food, preference for that food increased while the reward was in effect but dropped below initial levels after the reward was removed (Birch e! al., 19821. Such findings suggest that liking will be increased if children believe that they are eating something for its own sake but will be decreased if the eating appears to be governed by some extrinsic factor. Any satisfactory explanation of the acquisition of likes must account for various innately aversive substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, and the imtant spices that are among the more popular foods of humans around the world (Rozin, 1978~. Rozin and Schiller (1980) investigated how people come to like the initially distasteful burn of chili pepper. This occurs by age 5 to ~ years in many chili-eating cultures. Capsaicin, the active agent in chili pepper, stimulates the gastrointestinal system, causing salivation, increased gastric secretion, and gut motility. The salivation enhances the flavor of the frequently bland and mealy diets that are usually eaten with chili pepper. This enhancement, together with the taste of the pepper and the satiation produced by the food, may contribute to liking.

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES AND DUKES FOR FOODS 65 Social factors, however, may be more important in the acquisition of liking for chili pepper. A study in a Mexican village suggests that chili eating is not explicitly rewarded, but is acquired in a social context where respected adults and older children eat and enjoy it (Rozin and Schiller, 1980). Tonically, the initial negativity of chili pepper and other innately un- palatable substances may be a critical element in the process of acquiring a liking for them. The initial mouth pain produced by the chili may become pleasant as the person realizes that it is not really harmful. The pleasure of eating chili pepper then could be regarded as a kind of thrill seeking, like roller coaster riding or recreational parachute jumping. Some people may come to enjoy experiences when their bodies are signalling danger but their minds know there is really no danger (Rozin and Schiller, 1980~. Alternatively, the many painful mouth experiences produced by chili peppers may cause the brain to attempt to modulate the pain by secreting endogenous opiates morphine-like substances produced in die brain. There is evidence that, like morphine, these brain opiates reduce pain and at high levels might produce pleasure. Hundreds of experiences of chili- based mouth pain may cause stronger and stronger brain opiate responses, resulting in a net pleasure response after many experiences (Rozin et al., 1982; see Solomon, 1980, for a statement of opponent process theory, which could account for the hypothesized effect). An understanding of the development of liking for foods is far from complete. There are convincing arguments against all the mechanisms we have suggested. Our experience in Ming to understand the liking for chili pepper convinces us that there are multiple routes to liking. Disgust Versus Inappropriate All previous categories discussed probably apply to animals as well as to humans. The categories of disgust and inappropriate, however, are ideationally based and require the mediation of culture. The critical dif- ference between these categories is that disgusting items are offensive, whereas inappropriate items are essentially neutral. This offensiveness includes the idea of the disgusting substance in the body and its sensory properties: taste, smell, and appearance. The thought of consuming dis- gusting, but not inappropriate, substances typically leads to nausea. Ob- jects of disgust are contaminants; that is, a physical trace of a disgusting item can render an otherwise liked food undesirable. This physical trace contamination corresponds to what has been referred to by Frazer (1922) and Mauss (1972) as one of the two laws of sympathetic magic: the law of contagion. Frazer summarizes this as "once in contact, always in

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66 WHAT FACTORS SHAPE EATING PATTERNS? contact." Furthermore, an acceptable food shaped to look like a disgusting substance (e.g., fudge shaped to look like a cockroach) is often offensive (Rozin and Fallon, 1985~. Here similarity elicits disgust, illustrating the second law of sympathetic magic: the law of similarity. This law is suc- cinctly described by Mauss (1972) in his statement, "The image is equal to the object" (Rozin and Fallon, 19851. The disgust and inappropriate categories contain different kinds of items. Objects of disgust (which are often, in many cultures, tabooed substances) are almost always of animal origin (Angyal, 1941; Rozin and Fallon, 1980~. Inappropriate items, by contrast, are usually vegetable or inorganic in nature. Using criteria for disgust such as contamination and nausea, Rozin and Fallon (1980) found that pork had disgust properties for many kosher Jews as did meat for some vegetarians. Origin of Disgust. Angyal (1941) suggested that disgust is funda- mentally a "fear of oral incorporation of an offensive substance." This is in keeping with the facial disgust response, which seems designed to keep offensive substances from the mouth. In general, the more intimate the contact with a disgust substance, and hence the more real the threat of incorporation, the greater the disgust (Fallon and Rozin, 19831. It is likely that the fear is based on the primitive belief, "You are what you eat." Hence, consumption of an offensive substance would make the eater offensive. We do not have a satisfactory explanation of the origin of disgust. A major feature of such an explanation should be an economical description of the general nature of the objects of disgust, presumably more specific than animals and animal products (reviewed in Rozin and Fallon, 1981, 1985). One view is that disgust originates as an innate aversion to spoiled, decaying matter. However, nonhumans do not systematically avoid de- caying substances. Furthermore, there is evidence indicating that young children are either attracted to feces and decay odors or have neutral responses to them (Peso, 1936; Senn and Solnit, 1968~. Our view is that feces are the primary disgust substance and that the aversion is acquired during the emotion-laden toilet training experience. Adult humans' universal disgust for feces argues in favor of this view (Angyal, 19411. During toilet training, the initial attraction to feces may be changed into a strong aversion (disgust) a paradigmatic instance of what Freud described as a reaction formation (see Ferenczi, 1952; Senn and Solnit, 1968~. A generalization of disgust to other objects perceptually and conceptually similar to feces may occur. A third view emphasizes filth and disorder as opposed to the narrower

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES AND DISLIKES FOR FOODS 67 concept of decay. Association with filth (e.g., garbage, feces) would be a means of extending the category. Douglas (1966) explicitly identified "filth" as disorder, anomaly, or matter out of place, taking a more con- ceptual-symbolic approach to this idea. A fourth view focuses on "animalness" (Angyal, 1941; Rozin and Fallon, 19851. Angyal noted that as the "animalness" is removed from the offensive object, such as by cooking or chopping, the object becomes less disgusting. For example, baked fish is more likely to elicit a disgust response if it is served intact on a platter than if the bones, scales, and head are removed. In a fifth view, disgust is viewed as an emotionally laden aspect of human social relations. Thus, many objects of disgust are human products or involve human mediation of one sort or another. Food is clearly a major means of social expression. For example, in India (Appadurai, 1981; Khare, 1976) or in New Guinea (Meigs, 1978), consumption of a food produced, touched, or handled by a specific person other than the consumer can entail some notion of incorporating this other being into oneself. Thus, the value of the food depends on the nature of the relation to that other person (Appadurai, 1981; Meigs, 19781. If produced or handled by some- one hostile, the food can have dangerous and sometimes disgusting prop- erties. Possibly each of the five views described above contains part of the truth. All, except the innate spoilage view, entail some sort of acquisition or enculturation process. It seems likely that verbal and nonverbal signals from parents and others, especially negative facial expressions (disgust faces), play a role in communicating disgust to children. By age 4, children reject substances disgusting to adults, although their reasons for doing so may not be the same as those of adults (Fallon et al., 19841. They fail to respond to these substances as contaminants. We have not explained the mystery of how certain cognitions tap into the strong negative emotional system that we call disgust. We know that when they do, a strong aversion results. This aversion tends to be per- manent and to resist modification by rational means. It is ironic that disgust presupposes a rather sophisticated cognitive basean ability to categorize the worldand yet is so resistant to furler cognitive influence. Transvaluation, the Opposite of Disgust, and the Positive-Negative Balance As noted in the section on distaste versus danger, animals exhibit a strong bias toward more rapid and more substantial reaming about the negative properties of foods than about the positive aspects. In rats, an

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68 WHAT FACTORS SHAPE EATING PATTERNS? innate positive response to sweet tastes can be changed to a strong aversion in one learning trial, but an innate aversion (e.g., bitter or irritant tastes) is very difficult to reverse When there is success, the effect is small and the training extensive (e.g., Rozin et al., 1979; Zahorik, 1979~. Presum- ably, this bias is related to the adaptive value of rapid learning about harmful properties of potential edibles. -Do humans have the same bias? As we have pointed out, humans do learn to reverse innate dislikes. Not only do they come to like or even love many foods, but they develop strong likings for many types of objects (e.g., pets, people, sports teams, music). Thus, in many ways we seem to have overcome the negative bias. But have we? We still learn aversions much more rapidly than preferences. And although there are a large num- ber of items in the world that we reject as offensive (disgusting), and that can contaminate good food, there are practically no instances in American culture of the opposite of disgust. That is, there are few if any substances that in trace amounts make a disliked food likeable. As succinctly put by a garage mechanic in Nebraska, "A teaspoon of sewage would spoil a barrel of wine, but a teaspoon of wine would do noting at all for a barrel of sewage." However, even within American culture one can perceive weak signs of positive transvaluation. Thus, some body substances of lovers take on positive, rather than disgust properties. We occasionally feel that a food is better because "grandma made it. " Positive transvaluation of food does occur in a more salient way in other cultures, as in the enhancement of the value of food given as a ritual offering in a Hindu temple (Brecken- ndge, 19781. The clearest example comes from the work of Meigs (1978, 1984) on the Hua of New Guinea. For these people, the vital essence of a person, or nu, extends into all the things with which they interact. Hence, the food one has grown, killed, or cooked contains some of one's vital essence. Food that contains the nu of those in a positive relation to the eater can nounsh, whereas food that contains the nu of persons in a potentially hostile relation to the eater can harm. Here we have, in a potent and salient way, something like positive contamination. However, even among the Hua, the negative effects are more potent than the positive. Among the Hua, it is not the object per se that is disgusting (or positively transvalued) but its historical context (Meigs, 1978, 19841. Regardless of the status of positively transvalued food, the weakening of the negative bias in humans is clear. The gained strength of the positive system in humans may be related to culture (Rozin, 19821. Enculturation amounts to the learning of many rules, at least some of which become internalized as positive and negative values. What better way to ensure enculturation than to have the culture's members want (like) what the

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ACQUISITION OF LIKES ED DlSUKES FOR FOODS 69 culture values and dislike what it rejects. Such internalization obviates the necessity for rules and proscriptions to ensure compliance. Perhaps there is a relationship between the presence of culture.and the abundance of acquired likes in humans. SUMMARY Acceptance or rejection of potential foods by humans can be motivated by sensory properties (like or dislike of the taste and smell), anticipated consequences of ingestion, and culturally transmitted (ideationally based) information about the nature or origin of a particular substance. We con- sider how substances come to be accepted or rejected and, in particular, what determines whether a person acquires a like or dislike (sensory- hedonic motivation) for a food. Nausea following experience of a flavor is a particularly potent cause of an acquired dislike for that flavor. There is no factor nearly as potent as nausea to account for how some flavors come to be liked; but rapid satiety, association with already liked flavors, and a variety of sociocultural factors have been implicated. Ideational rejections are subcategor~zed into inappropriate (inedible, usually non- animal, and not offensive) items and disgust (often nutritive, usably animal, and offensive) items. Disgusting items have Be contamination property if they contact an acceptable food it becomes unacceptable. In general, dislikes for foods are acquired much more rapidly than likes, and ideationally based rejections of food (disgust) are more frequent and com- pelling than corresponding acceptances. This greater potency of negative events is even more marked in animals. Humans may be unique in having a large number of strong likes, including some substances Mat are innately aversive. REFERENCES Angyal, A. 1941. Disgust and related aversions. J. Abnorm. Soc. Psychol. 36:393-412. Appadurai, A. 1981. Gastropolitics in Hindu South Asia. Am. Ethnol. 8:494-511. Birch, L. L., and D. W. Marlin. 1982. I don't like it; I never tried it: The effects of familiarity on two-year-old's food preference. Appetite 3:353-360. Birch, L. L., S. I. Zimmerman, and H. Hind. 1980. The influence of social-affective context on the formation of children's food preferences. Child Dev. 51:856-861. Birch, L. L., D. Birch, D. W. Marlin, and L. Kramer. 1982. Effects of instrumental consumption on children's food preference. Appetite 3:125-134. Booth, D. A. 1982. Normal control of omnivore intake by taste and smell. Pp. 233-243 in J. Steiner and J. Ganchrow, eds. The determination of behavior by chemical stimuli. ECRO Symposium. Information Retrieval, London. Booth, D. A., P. Mather, and I. Fuller. 1982. Starch content of ordinary foods associatively conditions humans' appetite and satiation, indexed by intake and eating pleasantness of starch- paired flavors. Appetite 3:163-184.

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