Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 691–708 | Cite as

Subjective Happiness and Emotional Responsiveness to Food Stimuli

Research Paper

Abstract

Through three studies, this study aims to investigate the relationship between subjective happiness and responsiveness to eating and to foods. In Study 1, 299 Japanese undergraduates completed the Japanese subjective happiness scale and self-report questionnaires for attitudes toward eating and food. Study 1 revealed that in daily life, people with higher happiness levels show a stronger tendency to feel pleasure by eating than those with lower happiness levels. In Study 2, 26 Japanese undergraduates performed impression assessments for foods when looking at pictures of them. In Study 3, 22 Japanese undergraduates performed the same assessments when looking at real foods and eating them using a comparison with the data from pictures of non-food items as a control condition. The results of the study indicate that people with higher happiness levels show a stronger emotional response (happy and glad) to food stimuli than those with lower happiness levels. Even images of food were effective. No such group differences were observed for appetitive responses. It was also shown that emotional responses to the pictures of non-food items’ condition in the two groups did not differ. The present studies provided empirical evidence that subjective happiness has relevance to daily eating behavior and attitudes. Further studies should investigate the possibility that subjective happiness is related to a wide range of behavior and cognition in our daily life.

Keywords

Subjective happiness Attitude toward food Food-related stimuli Palatability Positive emotion 

References

  1. Agras, W. S., & Telch, C. F. (1998). The effects of caloric deprivation and negative affect on binge eating in obese binge-eating-disordered women. Behavior Therapy, 29, 491–503.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Basso, M. R., Schefft, B. K., Ris, M. D., & Dember, W. N. (1996). Mood and global-local visual processing. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 2, 249–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berridge, K. C. (2009). ‘Liking’ and ‘wanting’ food rewards: Brain substrates and roles in eating disorders. Physiology & Behavior, 97, 537–550.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bongers, P., Jansen, A., Havermans, R., Roefs, A., & Nederkoorn, C. (2013). Happy eating: The underestimated role of overeating in a positive mood. Appetite, 67, 74–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Burger, K. S., Cornier, M. A., Ingebrigtsen, J., & Johnson, S. L. (2011). Assessing food appeal and desire to eat: the effects of portion size and energy density. The International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 8, 101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Burger, K. S., & Stice, E. (2011). Relation of dietary restraint scores to activation of reward-related brain regions in response to food intake, anticipated intake, and food pictures. NeuroImage, 55, 233–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheng, H., & Furnham, A. (2003). Personality, self-esteem, and demographic predictions of happiness and depression. Personality and Individual Differences, 34, 921–942.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christensen, L., & Brooks, A. (2006). Changing food preference as a function of mood. The Journal of Psychology, 140, 293–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M., & Wong, M. H. (1991). The situational and personal correlates of happiness: A cross-national comparison. In F. Strack, M. Agyle, & N. Schwarz (Eds.), Subjective wellbeing (pp. 193–212). Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  10. Cyders, M. A., & Smith, G. T. (2008). Emotion-based dispositions to rash action: Positive and negative urgency. Psychological Bulletin, 134, 807–828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Diener, E., & Chan, M. Y. (2011). Happy people live longer: Subjective well-being contributes to health and longevity. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 3, 1–43.Google Scholar
  12. Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 81–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Diener, E., Tay, L., & Oishi, S. (2013). Rising income and the subjective well-being of nations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104, 267–276.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Edmans, A. (2012). The link between employee satisfaction and firm value, with implications for corporate social responsibility. The Academy of Management Perspectives, 26, 1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Evers, C., Adriaanse, M. A., de Ridder, D. T. D., & de Witt Huberts, J. C. (2013). Good mood food: Positive emotion as a neglected trigger for food intake. Appetite, 68, 1–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Finlayson, G., & Dalton, M. (2012). Current progress in the assessment of ‘liking’ vs. ‘wanting’ food in human appetite. Comment on ‘“You Say it’s Liking, I Say it’s Wanting…”. On the difficulty of disentangling food reward in man’. Appetite, 58, 373–378.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fredrickson, B. L. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General psychology, 2, 300–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gómez-Pinilla, F. (2008). Brain foods: The effects of nutrients on brain function. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 9, 568–578.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., Asplund, J. W., Killham, E. A., & Agrawal, S. (2010). Causal impact of employee work perceptions on the bottom line of organizations. Perspective on Psychological Science, 5, 378–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Havermans, R. C. (2012). How to tell where ‘liking’ends and ‘wanting’begins. Appetite, 58, 252–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heatherton, T. E., & Baumeister, R. E. (1991). Binge eating as escape from self-awareness. Psychological Bulletin, 110, 86–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Jasinska, A. J., Yasuda, M., Burant, C. F., Gregor, N., Khatri, S., Sweet, M., & Falk, E. B. (2012). Impulsivity and inhibitory control deficits are associated with unhealthy eating in young adults. Appetite, 59, 738–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kaplan, H. L., & Kaplan, H. S. (1957). The psychosomatic concept of obesity. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases, 125, 181–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Kringelbach, M. L., & Berridge, K. C. (2009). Towards a functional neuroanatomy of pleasure and happiness. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(11), 479–487.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lutter, M., & Nestler, E. J. (2009). Homeostatic and hedonic signals interact in the regulation of food intake. The Journal of Nutrition, 139, 629–632.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. A., & Diener, E. (2005). The benefits of frequent positive affect: Does happiness lead to success? Psychological Bulletin, 131, 803–855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Lyubomirsky, S., & Lepper, H. S. (1999). A measure of subjective happiness: Preliminary reliability and construct validation. Social Indicators Research, 46, 137–155.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Macht, M. (1999). Characteristics of eating in anger, fear, sadness and joy. Appetite, 33, 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Macht, M. (2008). How emotions affect eating: a five-way model. Appetite, 50, 1–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Macht, M., Meininger, J., & Roth, J. (2005). The pleasures of eating: A qualitative analysis. Journal of Happiness Studies, 6, 137–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Macht, M., Roth, S., & Ellgring, H. (2002). Chocolate eating in healthy men during experimentally induced sadness and joy. Appetite, 39, 147–158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. McNamara, C., Hay, P. J., Katsikitis, M., & Chur-Hansen, A. (2008). Emotional responses to food, body dissatisfaction and other eating disorder features in children, adolescents and young adults. Appetite, 50, 102–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mela, D. J. (2001). Determinants of food choice: Relationship with obesity and weight control. Obesity Research, 9, 249–255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mela, D. J. (2006). Eating for pleasure or just wanting to eat? Reconsidering sensory hedonic responses as a driver of obesity. Appetite, 47, 10–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Nolan, L. J., Halperin, L. B., & Geliebter, A. (2010). Emotional appetite questionnaire: Construct validity and relationship with BMI. Appetite, 54, 314–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Otake, K. (2015). Subjective happiness and autobiographical memory: Differences in the ratio of positive events and transmission as emotional expression. Personality and Individual Differences, 72, 171–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Patel, K. A., & Schlundt, D. G. (2001). Impact of moods and social context on eating behavior. Appetite, 36, 111–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Rousseta, S., Schlichb, P., Chatonniera, A., Barthomeufc, L., & Droit-Voletc, S. (2008). Is the desire to eat familiar and unfamiliar meat products influenced by the emotions expressed on eaters’ faces? Appetite, 50, 110–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Shimai, S., Otake, K., Utsuki, N., Ikemi, A., & Lyubomirsky, S. (2004). Development of Japanese subjective happiness scale (SHS), and its examination of validity and reliability. Japanese Journal of Public Health, 51, 1–9.Google Scholar
  41. Soussignan, R., Jiang, T., Riguad, D., Royet, J. P., & Schaal, B. (2009). Subliminal fear priming potentiates negative facial reactions to food pictures in women with anorexia nervosa. Psychological Medicine, 40, 503–514.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Stice, E., Burger, K., & Yokum, S. (2013). Caloric deprivation increases responsivity of attention and reward brain regions to intake, anticipated intake, and images of palatable foods. NeuroImage, 67, 322–330.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Svaldi, J., Tuschen-Caffier, B., Peyk, P., & Blechert, J. (2010). Information processing of food pictures in binge eating disorder. Appetite, 55, 685–694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Telch, C. F. (1997). Skills training treatment for adaptive affect regulation in a woman with binge-eating disorder. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 22, 77–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Van Strien, T., & Ouwens, M. A. (2003). Counterregulation in female obese emotional eaters: Schachter, Goldman, and Gordon’s (1968) test of psychosomatic theory revisited. Eating Behaviors, 3, 329–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Veenhoven, R. (2008). Healthy happiness: Effects of happiness on physical health and the consequences for preventive health care. Journal of Happiness Studies, 9, 449–469.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Westenhoefer, J., & Pudel, V. (1993). Pleasure from food: Importance for food choice and consequences of deliberate restriction. Appetite, 20, 246–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Wood, A. M., Maltby, J., Stewart, N., Linley, P. A., & Joseph, S. (2008). A social-cognitive model of trait and state levels of gratitude. Emotion, 8, 281–290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychological ScienceKwansei Gakuin UniversityNishinomiyaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Human ScienceTohoku Gakuin UniversitySendaiJapan

Personalised recommendations