Eating attitudes and eating beliefs in females might be explained by cognitive dissonance (conforming beliefs to match behaviors) or self-perception theory (beliefs inferred by behaviors). A sample of 129 female undergraduates, divided into three groups, were taken to see if the food they ate affected their attitude towards food or body image. A healthy food group consisted of low calorie foods, a junk food group consisted of high calorie foods, and a control group was given no food. Participants completed the Eating Attitudes Test (EAT) and Body Image Scale (BIS). There were no differences between groups on BIS (p=0.60), suggesting no differences in body image perception. The healthy food group scored significantly lower on the EAT (p<0.05) than the junk food and control groups, suggesting that cognitive dissonance is a possible explanation for the discrepancy. This is due to lower scores on the EAT, which are considered to be more healthy.
"Women and Eating: Cognitive Dissonance versus Self-Perception Theory,"
Intuition: The BYU Undergraduate Journal of Psychology: Vol. 8
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/intuition/vol8/iss1/6