Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Kristjen Lundberg


The psychology of eating behavior is increasingly important given that more than one- third of Americans are obese, with 74% of men considered overweight or obese (Overweight and Obesity Statistics, 2012). This study examines the relationship between core affect and healthy food choices. Though previous research has examined relationships between specific emotions and eating behavior, little is known about core affect or about these relationships in more naturalistic settings (outside the lab). To evaluate the role of core affect in healthy food choices, a field study was conducted in the University of Richmond (UR) dining hall to measure UR students’ core affect and their food choices on three separate occasions. It was originally hypothesized that people who experience positive, low-arousal emotions will choose healthier foods. However, this was not supported by the data. Instead, it was found that people who experience higher arousal on average tended to make healthier food choices. Increasing our knowledge about the determinants of healthy eating may help individuals, as well as the country, to see more hope for a healthier future.

Included in

Psychology Commons