Normative influences on food intake

Physiol Behav. 2005 Dec 15;86(5):762-72. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2005.08.064. Epub 2005 Oct 21.


Hunger and satiety have conventionally provided the framework for understanding eating and overeating. We argue that hunger and satiety play a relatively small role in everyday eating. The normative control of food intake refers to the fact that our eating is largely governed by the motive to avoid eating excessively. Dieters impose a restrictive intake norm on themselves, but often violate the norm. Personal norms are individualized rules that people develop to help themselves decide how much is appropriate to eat in a given situation. Situational norms are derived from the eating situation itself; examples include portion size and social influence, which exert powerful effects on intake. We discuss the implications of a normative approach to the analysis of eating and overeating.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diet
  • Eating / physiology*
  • Eating / psychology*
  • Food Preferences / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hunger / physiology*
  • Satiety Response / physiology*
  • Social Environment