Article Review of Classical Conditioning



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The article by Jansen Anita and Havermans Remco (2007) is about ‘Increasing children’s liking of vegetables through flavor-flavor learning’. The latter refers to a process whereby, preferred flavors are paired with neutral flavors in what is known as Pavlovian conditioning. When this occurs, there is an association between the enhanced flavor and the neutral flavour. In turn, the child is able to prefer the neutral flavor as opposed to the other flavour, and this is due to a positive shift. During this study, the population to be tested was twenty one children and they participated in conditioning trials that were six pairs in total. This means that they had to taste unsweetened and sweetened vegetables tastes. Furthermore, during the tasting, the unsweetened tastes had to be evaluated by the children. According to the results, the vegetables that had a sweetened taste were highly favored by the children. Therefore, in order to make children like eating vegetables, the flavor-flavor learning process is highly recommended (Jansen & Havermans, 2007).

The article’s main hypothesis is that it is beneficial if one increases the liking of vegetables among children, through making them accept the vegetable’s taste (Jansen & Havermans, 2007). Moreover, it will ensure that children do not easily become over weight as they are consuming right quantities of vegetables. The authors of this article want to make it known that there is a relationship between obesity and vegetable consumption. The hypothesis is based on previous research, which shows that most children who are obese, hardly ever consume vegetables and fruits. The main reason for not consuming the vegetables is because they do not like the taste. The research conducted by the authors is extremely vital to children. It can help find a solution towards solving the problem of obesity (Jansen & Havermans, 2007). It means that through research, ways can be found to enhance the taste of vegetables, while at the same time, maintaining its natural taste as well as the nutrients. The theory that seems to fit well with this research is the one concerning naturalism. The latter gives reasons as to why certain elements in society exist as they are. In this case, it is quite natural for children not to like the taste of vegetables, but they can be made to like it. This research topic should be known in order to save the lives of many children. Childhood obesity is a disease that is affecting millions of children and mostly as a result of the fatty foods that they eat. It is vital that people are aware that if children consume vegetables, they can avoid being obese. Furthermore, since children do not enjoy the taste of vegetables, the use of the flavor-flavor learning can make them eat vegetables (Jansen & Havermans, 2007).

The research findings show that the procedure for flavour-flavour learning increases the liking for specific vegetable tastes among children. Also, there was an increase in preference of flavour when the sweet dextrose taste was paired with that of a certain vegetable taste. This means that in terms of preference for a certain vegetable taste, a positive shift takes place. This means that children can adapt to the taste of the vegetable in the shortest time possible. The authors found out that through flavour-flavour learning, children begin to accept the taste of the vegetables (Jansen & Havermans, 2007). Flavour preferences, which are conditioned, are known to be quite resistant to any form of extinction. This means that children start to like certain vegetable flavors after some time. In this study, it was found out that in order for children to like an unsweetened vegetable, a shift had to occur. Also, the children only need to take at least 60ml, or six sips of the sugared vegetable. In my opinion, the findings suggest that children need to be constantly subjected to eating vegetables that have been enhanced by small quantities of nutrients and flavour. This should take place for long time periods until the children become used to the taste of the vegetables. Therefore, the researchers have interpreted the results well, as one can easily figure out what they wanted to be known.

In this study, there are some potential confounds that should be known to ensure that it is valid. This means that there might be some variables in the study that are not controlled. In turn, the researcher may not be able to know if the effect that has been observed is due to the uncontrolled or independent variables (Steinberg & Vandell & & Bornstein, 2010). In this study, the confound variables include; the experimenter could have made facial expressions, remarks or even a sound. By doing this it would affect the outcome of some of the study’s findings. The other confound would have been the rooms where the experiment took place. If the children were taken to another different room maybe it would have affected the outcome. The mentioned confounds would have been thought of by the researcher and use them in the control test. There are some research method aspects, which would have been influenced the study’s findings. For example, the children should have been interviewed in order to find out what vegetables they liked. This would have helped in knowing, which vegetables they would have used during the experiment. Also, the participants, which in this case were the children, should have had more time other than five minutes intervals, to partake in drinking the vegetable juices (Steinberg & Vandell & & Bornstein, 2010).

This study has proven that there is indeed a problem concerning the intake of vegetables by children. In the future, other researchers should carry out more research on this field as it will yield rewarding results. The researchers should focus upon finding out if there will be an increase and liking of vegetable taste through a spit and sip procedure. Also, researchers should find out, which vegetables are least liked, and are highly nutritious. This means flavour-flavour learning procedure can be used to make the children like the vegetables (Jansen & Havermans, 2007). Also, future studies should focus on enhancing the flavor of vegetables in order to be similar to that of their favorite foods. Lastly, some questions have been brought up by the study’s findings. For example, the question of Genetically Modified foods arises as whether the vegetables can be enhanced by the flavors and then grown genetically. Moreover, it raises the question regarding whether a healthy habit of eating can be enhanced when children prefer to eat vegetables. If a positive shift occurs will the cases of obesity among children be reduced by eating vegetables. Indeed, this article has provided a lot of crucial information regarding the problem of disliking of vegetables among children (Jansen & Havermans, 2007).

















Jansen, Anita. & Havermans, Remco. (2007). “Increasing children’s liking of vegetables through flavor-flavor learning”. Appetite, 48, 259-262.

Steinberg, L. & Vandell, D. & & Bornstein, M. (2010). Development: Infancy through Adolescence. Belmont CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.




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