The Moralization of Restrained Eating Practices: An Embodied Understanding

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3 February 2012

Time: 12:00am
Venue: Fogg Building, room 3.15

Neurobiology, behaviour and cognition seminars and events


Moralization is the process whereby preferences are converted to values (Rozin, 1999). Two studies used an embodied cognitive approach to argue for the increasing moralization of restrained eating practices among women.  Previous research by Zhong & Liljenquist (2006) has found that cleanliness metaphors for morality are grounded in bodily experiences such that a threat to one?s morality induces a desire for physical cleanliness.  Study 1 found that failures of restrained eating (i.e., overeating) increased accessibility of physical cleanliness-related words for women, but not men. Study 2 replicated this effect and found that negative moral emotions (e.g., shame; guilt; disgust; anger) mediated the effect of overeating on a desire for physical cleanliness. Relations between eating practices and moral purity are discussed.

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