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Dr Leigh Gibson explores the psychology of appetite

Roehampton's Dr Leigh Gibson is to address a Wellcome Trust event on the psychology of appetite. Leigh will deliver the keynote speech, on how psychological and environmental factors over-ride biological controls and so promote over-eating.

Posted: 14 September 2011

image for news story Dr Leigh Gibson explores the psychology of appetite

Roehampton's Dr Leigh Gibson is to address a Wellcome Trust event on the psychology of appetite. Leigh will deliver the keynote speech, on how psychological and environmental factors over-ride biological controls and so promote over-eating.

Dr Leigh Gibson is currently a Reader in Biopsychology, and Director of the Clinical and Health Psychology Research Centre within the recently formed Department of Psychology.

The Wellcome events are dialogue events and aim to involve the audience in a conversation with scientists, experts and other members of the audience. The content is about issues in science, medicine and culture which affect people's everyday lives. These issues can sometimes engender very strong emotions.

The gut may have less control of normal meal size than we imagine. Habits may over-ride short-term cues from the gut while eating. Once we have eaten food clearly the gut has a crucial role but even here psychological factors are also critical. There is evidence that even sweetened beverages fail to be satiating. The explanation lies in the importance of sensory cues triggering anticipatory responses that allow the body to respond to nutrients.

Leigh Gibson's current research is concerned with influences on appetite and food choice, and their interaction with stress, health, and cognitive and emotional well-being. The work is aimed at understanding processes controlling people's habitual diet, attempts at dietary change, weight control and disordered eating. His work derives mainly from psychological and physiological mechanisms underlying dietary habit formation, especially the role of learning, but also including influences of nutrition and stress on brain/behaviour and cardiovascular adaptations protecting health.

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