Rejection of Known and Previously Accepted Foods During Early Childhood: An Extension of the Neophobic Response?
Keywords:Food neophobia, Picky/Fussy eating, Categorisation of food, Questionnaire
Children begin to reject new foods (food neophobia) at around 18 to 30 months. At this time parents also report the rejection of known and previously accepted foods. The studies presented here are the first to examine this rejection of accepted foods in isolation and presents a number of significant findings. Using a parental questionnaire, it was found that the rejection of known and previously accepted food begins towards the end of infancy, commonly occurs during nursery age, reduces in frequency after 30 months and most often involves the rejection of vegetables, mixed foods and fruit.
It was hypothesised that known and previously accepted foods are rejected due to an extension of the neophobic response. When neophobia begins, infants become hyper-vigilant to the visual perceptual features of food in order to recognise the food given. Foods not matching learnt expectations, due to perceptual changes between servings, may be categorised as 'new' or 'different' and rejected in a neophobic response. A second study offers some support for this hypothesis, showing that those children who are reported as having rejected a known and previously accepted food score higher on a neophobia and 'pickyâ' eating scales. Implications are discussed.
 Cashdan E. Adaptiveness of food learning and food aversions in children. Social Science Information. 1998; 37(4): 613-32.
 Cooke L, Wardle J, Gibson EL. Relationship between parental report of food neophobia and everyday food consumption in 2-6-year-old children. Appetite 2003; 41(2): 205-6.
 Harper LV, Sanders KM. The effect of adults’ eating on young children’s acceptance of unfamiliar foods. J Exper Child Psychol 1975; 20(2): 206-14.
 Galloway AT, Lee Y, Birch LL. Predictors and consequences of food neophobia and pickiness in young girls. J Am Diet Assoc 2003; 103(6): 692-8.
 Falciglia GA, Couch SC, Gribble LS, Pabst SM, Frank R. Food neophobia in childhood affects dietary variety. J Am Diet Assoc 2000; 100(12): 1474-81.
 Galef Jr. BG. Functions of social learning about food: a causal analysis of effects of diet novelty on preference transmission. Animal Behav 1993; 46(2): 257-65.
 Johnson E. Food-neophobia in semi-free ranging rhesus macaques: effects of food limitation and food source. Am J Primatol 2000; 50(1): 25-35.
 Marples NM, Kelly DJ. Neophobia and Dietary Conservatism: Two Distinct Processes? Evolut Ecol 1999; 13(7): 641-53.
 Roper TJ. Effects of Novelty On Taste-Avoidance Learning in Chicks. Behaviour 1993; 125(3-4): 265-81.
 Desor JA, Maller O, Turner RE. Taste in acceptance of sugars by human infants. J Compar Physiol Psychol 1973; 84(3): 496-501.
 Rosenstein D, Oster H. Differential facial responses to four basic tastes in newborns. Child Dev 1988; 59(6): 1555-68.
 Birch LL, Gunder L, Grimm-Thomas K, Laing D. Infants’ Consumption of a New Food Enhances Acceptance of Similar Foods. Appetite 1998; 30(3): 283-95.
 Birch LL, Marlin DW. I don’t like it; I never tried it: effects of exposure on two-year-old children’s food preferences. Appetite 1982; 3(4): 353-60.
 Birch LL, McPhee L, Shoba BC, Pirok E, Steinberg L. What kind of exposure reduces children’s food neophobia? Looking vs. tasting. Appetite 1987; 9(3): 171-8.
 Nicklaus S, Boggio V, Chabanet C, Issanchou S. A prospective study of food variety seeking in childhood, adolescence and early adult life. Appetite 2005; 44(3): 289-97.
 Pliner P. The effects of mere exposure on liking for edible substances. Appetite 1982; 3(3): 283-90.
 Wardle J, Herrera M-L, Cooke L, Gibson EL. Modifying children’s food preferences: the effects of exposure and reward on acceptance of an unfamiliar vegetable. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003; 57(2): 341-8.
 Wardle J, Cooke LJ, Gibson EL, Sapochnik M, Sheiham A, Lawson M. Increasing children’s acceptance of vegetables; a randomized trial of parent-led exposure. Appetite 2003; 40(2): 155-62.
 Carruth BR, Skinner JD. Revisiting the Picky Eater Phenomenon: Neophobic Behaviors of Young Children. J Am Coll Nutr 2000; 19(6): 771 -780.
 Carruth BR, Skinner J, Houck K, Moran J, Coletta F, Ott D. The Phenomenon of “Picky Eater”: A Behavioral Marker in Eating Patterns of Toddlers. J Am Coll Nutr 1998; 17(2): 180 -186.
 Pliner P, Eng A, Krishnan K. The effects of fear and hunger on food neophobia in humans. Appetite 1995; 25(1): 77-87.
 Pliner P, Hobden K. Development of a scale to measure the trait of food neophobia in humans. Appetite 1992; 19(2): 105-20.
 Pliner P, Pelchat M, Grabski M. Reduction of neophobia in humans by exposure to novel foods. Appetite 1993; 20(2): 111-23.
 Jacobi C, Agras WS, Bryson S, Hammer LD. Behavioral validation, precursors, and concomitants of picky eating in childhood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 2003; 42(1): 76-84.
 Schreck KA, Williams K, Smith AF. A comparison of eating behaviors between children with and without autism. J Autism Dev Disord 2004; 34(4): 433-8.
 Williams KE, Gibbons BG, Schreck KA. Comparing Selective Eaters with and Without Developmental Disabilities. J Dev Phys Disabilit 2005; 17(3): 299-309.
 Galloway AT, Fiorito L, Lee Y, Birch LL. Parental pressure, dietary patterns, and weight status among girls who are “picky eaters”. J Am Dietet Assoc 2005; 105(4): 541-8.
 Li Y, Shi A, Wan Y, Hotta M, Ushijima H. Child behavior problems: prevalence and correlates in rural minority areas of China. Pediatr Int 2001; 43(6): 651-61.
 Potts HW, Wardle J. The list heuristic for studying personality correlates of food choice behaviour: a review and results from two samples. Appetite 1998; 30(1): 79-92.
 Rydell AM, Dahl M, Sundelin C. Characteristics of school children who are choosy eaters. J Genet Psychol 1995; 156(2): 217-29.
 Smith AM, Roux S, Naidoo NTR, Venter DJL. Food choice of tactile defensive children. Nutrition 2005; 21(1): 14-9.
 Carruth BR, Ziegler PJ, Gordon A, Barr SI. Prevalence of picky eaters among infants and toddlers and their caregivers’ decisions about offering a new food. J Am Dietet Assoc 2004; 104(Suppl 1(0): 57-64.
 Kim YJ, Chung SJ, Han YS, et al. The Characteristics of Infants’ Temperament, Maternal Feeding Behavior and Feeding Practices in Picky Eaters. Korean J Commun Nutr 2005; 10(4): 462-70.
 Nguyen SP, Murphy GL. An Apple is More Than Just a Fruit: Cross-Classification in Children’s Concepts. Child Dev 2003; 74(6): 1783-806.
 Cooke LJ, Haworth CM, Wardle J. Genetic and environmental influences on children’s food neophobia. Am J Clin Nutr 2007; 86(2): 428-33.
 Understanding and managing extreme food refusal in toddlers [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2001 Jul 8]. Available from: https: //www.infantandtoddlerforum.org/c/document_library/get_file?uuid=a9fbda7a-8d4c-4faf-8cd5-2764796f81f6&groupId=11803
 Gibson EL, Wardle J. Energy density predicts preferences for fruit and vegetables in 4-year-old children. Appetite 2003; 41(1): 97-8.
 Rolls BJ. Sensory-specific Satiety. Nutr Rev 1986; 44(3): 93-101.
 Harris G, Blissett J, Johnson R. Food Refusal Associated With Illness. Child Psychol Psychiatry Rev 2000; 5(04): 148-56.
 Loewen R, Pliner P. Effects of Prior Exposure to Palatable and Unpalatable Novel Foods on Children’s Willingness to Taste Other Novel Foods. Appetite 1999; 32(3): 351-66.
 Dahl M, Kristiansson B. Early Feeding Problems in an Affluent Society. Acta Pædiatrica 1987; 76(6): 881-8.
 Johnson R, Harris G. A preliminary study of the predictors of feeding problems in late infancy. J Reprod Infant Psychol 2004; 22(3): 183-8.
 Coulthard H, Blissett J. Fruit and vegetable consumption in children and their mothers. Moderating effects of child sensory sensitivity. Appetite 2009; 52(2): 410-5.
 Sullivan SA, Birch LL. Pass the sugar, pass the salt: Experience dictates preference. Dev Psychol 1990; 26(4): 546-51.
Policy for Journals/Articles with Open Access
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post links to their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work
Policy for Journals / Manuscript with Paid Access
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Publisher retain copyright .
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post links to their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work .