Supplementary material from "A test of four evolutionary hypotheses of pregnancy food cravings: evidence for the social bargaining model"
Published on 2017-10-13T11:51:25Z (GMT) by
The onset of cravings for items not typically desired is often considered a hallmark of pregnancy. Given the ubiquity of cravings, this phenomenon remains surprisingly understudied. The current study tested four hypotheses of pregnancy food cravings: behavioural immune system, nutrient seeking, resource scarcity and social bargaining. The research took place in Tamil Nadu, South India, with pregnant women residing in rural villages (<i>N </i>= 94). Methods included structured interviews and anthropometric measures. Findings revealed that unripe mango and unripe tamarind were the two most frequently mentioned food cravings among this population, but were not sufficiently supported by the <i>a priori</i> models. Results confirmed that the social bargaining model was the best explanation for the etic category of toxic/pathogenic food items, suggesting that pregnant women crave dangerous foods when experiencing heightened social pressures. Finally, toxicity/pathogenicity was a confounding factor for the nutrient seeking and resource scarcity models, calling into question the validity of these models in adverse environments. Overall, these findings present important implications for research on pregnancy food cravings, such that in resource-scarce and pathogen-dense environments, cravings might target teratogenic items that signal a need for increased social support.