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Norm-Violation, Norm-Adherence, and Overeating

Croatian Anthropological Society; [email protected]
Publication Date
  • Norm-Violation
  • Norm-Adherence
  • Overeating


Two routes to overeating are discussed; they are both premised on people’s strong motivation to avoid eating excessively and thereby avoid negative ascriptions associated with the overeating/overweight stereotype. The first route to overeating involves infractions of restrictive intake norms: people who attempt to restrict their intake by implementing dietary rules often run afoul of disinhibitory circumstances that undermine the self-control upon which successful dieting depends. The second route to overeating involves adherence to restrictive intake norms in situations where it is unclear how much eating is permitted. People search the environment for indicants of what constitutes permissible intake and end up relying on such arbitrary criteria as portion size and the intake of other people. Using such criteria derived from the eating situation often leads to overeating even while individuals believe that they are successfully restricting their intake.

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