You are not currently logged in. Please create an account or log in to view the full course.

Eating Behaviour – Neophobia and Taste Aversion

2. Neophobia

This is the course trailer. Please create an account or log in to view this lecture.

  • Description
  • Cite

About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about neophobia, focusing in particular on: (i) defining neophobia as the avoidance of the new; (ii) the development of food neophobia most prominently from the ages of around two to six years old in humans; (iii) the importance of neophobia for ensuring the avoidance of potentially toxic or poisonous substances; (iv) the anecdotal evidence of food neophobia in humans being only partial, as demonstrated by young children being often accepting of the ‘first bite’ of novel foods, but not any more than that; (v) the heightened presence of neophobia for sour and bitter tastes; (vi) the mere exposure effect, as a proposed explanation for the reduction in neophobic reactions over time.


In this course, Professor Dominic Dwyer (Cardiff University) explores neophobia and taste aversion. In the first lecture, we think about the evolutionary background of feeding, including the reasons behind our preferences and avoidances for particular tastes. In the second lecture, we think about neophobia and its evolutionary function which stops the ingestion of large quantities of potentially unsafe substances. In the third lecture, we think about the classic understanding of taste aversion as a specialised function to enable the rapid learning of taste and illness pairings. Next, we think about some modern research which proposes that rapid learning is enabled more so by the ‘fit’ of the stimulus, in factors such as the length of time the experience lasts. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about the overall evolutionary functions that each of these taste and food related adaptations provide.


Professor Dominic Dwyer is the chair for the BSc and MSc exam boards in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University. Professor Dwyer teaches introductory statistics for undergraduate years one and two. Professor Dwyer’s research is primarily focused on how animals and people learn, as well as how that learning is expressed as behaviour. Some key focus areas of this research are computational modelling, neurodegenerative disorders, and the assessment of individual differences. Some of Professor Dwyer’s recent publications include 'EXPRESS: Instrumental responses and Pavlovian stimuli as temporal referents in a peak procedure' (2022) and 'Face masks have emotion-dependent dissociable effects on accuracy and confidence in identifying facial expressions of emotion' (2022).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Dwyer, D. (2022, April 26). Eating Behaviour – Neophobia and Taste Aversion - Neophobia [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Dwyer, D. "Eating Behaviour – Neophobia and Taste Aversion – Neophobia." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 26 Apr 2022,

Image Credits

Get instant access to over 7,300 lectures