Polivy Market Research


Image of Janet PolivyJanet Polivy
Professor of Psychology
phone: 905-828-3785

office: DV3062


Weight scale

The False Hope Syndrome of self-change efforts—This is the study of how unrealistic expectations about changing aspects of oneself contribute to the failure of the effort, plus lowered self-esteem and self-image in the person attempting to change. In addition, I am investigating the factors that promote repeated unsuccessful efforts, which include the positive feelings that accompany the initiation of a self-change effort (feeling more in control, feeling that one is doing something about one’s problems), and distorted memories of the initial success that often accompanies a new attempt.

Restrained eating/chronic dieting—I study dieting and its effects on eating and personality, as well as the factors that affect restrained eating. My research has identified chronic dieting as a contributor to binge eating and overeating in response to dysphoria and ego threats, alcohol consumption, anticipated food restriction, anticipated or actual breaking of one’s diet, deprivation of a favorite food (such as chocolate), and overeating by others.

Normal eating behavior—I study social influences on eating, portion size effects, and the effects of emotion on eating. I also study the effects of food restriction in both humans and (occasionally) in rats.

I also study risk factors for eating disorders; individual differences in drug responsiveness; and recognition of emotions in self and others.





Lab Members

Post doctoral fellow(s):
Veronique Provencher

Graduate student(s):
Laura Weinheimer

I also generally have 2 fourth year thesis students, and several undergraduate volunteers and work study students doing research in my lab.

In the News

Glamour Magazine Article:
People who diet lose touch with their body's natural hunger signals, and often eat based on external cues that have no relationship to how hungry they really are.

SSHRC News Canada 11/05 Issue
Author: Lesley Kiely

"If you’re hoping to make a change this New Year’s—whether it be to lose weight or get into shape— just don’t hope for too much"


Exciting New Graduate Program! -- Collaborative Program in Women's Health

First such program in Canada and one of the few internationally to offer multidisciplinary graduate training for Master's and PhD candidates in women's helth.

Contact information:

Dr. Gillian Einstein, Interim Director
Women's Health Collaborative Program
c/o Women's College Research Institute
790 Bay Street, 7th Floor
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1N8
Attention: Lisa Hall
Tel: 416-351-3732; Ext: 2331
Fax: (416) 351-3746
E-mail: CPWH@womensresearch.ca