Essay: Results of a Study in Obesity

Sample Essay

Many of the questions asked in this interview were based on the developmental theories of psychology as presented by B. F. Skinner and Lev Vygotsky.  Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning was related to questions such as “What do you remember about your parents’ reaction to your feeding practices as a child?”  The interviewee’s response “They were happy I was well nourished” suggested that the young child must have been influenced by her parents’ joy in seeing her eat well, which in this case meant overeating.

The subject was also asked, “Were you rewarded by your parents for overeating?  If yes, how?”  Her answer: “I got chocolate after chocolate no matter what.”  Was she punished for overeating?  No.

Skinner’s theory is further related to the question, “Have you ever been sick because of overeating?  Yes/No.”  The answer was No.  Another related question was, “Have you ever thought that you might get sick because of overeating?  Yes/No.”  The answer was No.  With respect to Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning, the answers to the questionnaire revealed a positive correlation between behavior and reinforcement.  The participant also mentioned that she would like to lose weight to get a steady boyfriend, but she cannot manage losing weight at this time, and therefore cannot tell how she would eventually do it.

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