Abstract The behavioral treatment of obesity is based on several assumptions which have remained virtually unexamined. Two of these contend that (a) obese and non-obese individuals display distinctive eating styles, and (b) the obese person can reduce by adopting the eating style of the non-obese person. Four studies are described which examined some of the assumptions and components of behavior modification strategies. In general, the data did not support the eating style distinction. Moreover, the findings from one study suggest that cognitive factors (beliefs) may exert a stronger influence on food consumption than some of the behavior change procedures typically employed.