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Child Development Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 638239, 10 pages
Research Article

Does “Yummy” Food Help You Grow and Avoid Illness? Children's and Adults' Understanding of the Effect of Psychobiological Labels on Growth and Illness

Department of Psychology, Oakland University, Rochester, MI 48309, USA

Received 5 March 2011; Revised 16 May 2011; Accepted 15 June 2011

Academic Editor: Susan A. Gelman

Copyright © 2011 Lakshmi Raman. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Three studies examined children's understanding of the role of psychobiological labels such as tasty (“yummy”) and not tasty (“yucky”) foods on growth and illness. Studies 1 and 3 examined the role of tasty and not tasty foods on height, weight, and illness, respectively. Study 2 controlled for the possibility that participants were responding to the positive and negative valence of the terms “yummy” and “yucky” in Study 1. Results revealed that young children entertain psychobiological causes for growth but not for illness. These results suggest that young children selectively apply psychobiological causes to explain different biological processes.