The Manipulation of Toddlers’ Food Preferences

Guest Speaker:
Professor Carmel Houston-Price (School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading, UK) Psychology
Subject Area:
Professorial Talk
Date & Time:
Thu, 19. July 2018, 12:30 h - 13:30 h
Small Lecture Theatre - EduCity@Iskandar​

From the first days of weaning, infants prefer foods with sweet, energy-rich tastes over those with sour and bitter tastes. By around 2 years of age, toddlers commonly also show ‘food neophobia’, a fear of trying new foods. These natural tendencies make it challenging for parents to encourage their young child to eat a wide variety of healthy foods, especially vegetables, and intake of this food group is worryingly low throughout the lifespan. This presentation will describe a series of studies that have explored a novel strategy for increasing toddlers’ liking of fruit and vegetables by manipulating their prior visual familiarity. These studies show that looking at picture books about the foods to be introduced before they are offered at mealtimes makes children more willing to taste them, like them more when they do taste them, and eat more of them for several months afterwards.


Prof Carmel Houston-Price is Professor of Language and Cognitive Development at the University of Reading. Formerly Academic Director (Research) and Head of Section for Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at UoRM, she is delighted to be returning to Malaysia to talk about some of the research she has undertaken in the field of food preferences. Her other main research area is children’s language development, which she has explored in typically-developing and atypically-developing populations, and in monolingual and multilingual environments.

  • Admission is free.
  • UoRM staff RSVP by responding to the internal event invitation.
  • All are welcome, RSVP by 13 July 2018.


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