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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 442539
Title Eating by example. Effects of environmental cues on dietary decisions
Author(s) Prinsen, S.; Ridder, D.T.D. de; Vet, E.W.M.L. de
Source Appetite 70 (2013). - ISSN 0195-6663 - p. 1 - 5.
Department(s) Strategic Communication
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2013
Keyword(s) social norms - food choice - behavior
Abstract Objective: The present studies examined the role of environmental cues in steering people’s dietary decisions in response to food temptations. Based on the notion that people show a tendency to conform to eating standards derived from the eating behavior of others, it was hypothesized that communication of other people’s dietary decisions through environmental cues affect whether and what people eat. Methods: Conformity to environmental cues about food intake was assessed in a local bakery (Study 1, N = 144) and a lab setting (Study 2, N = 65). Participants were unobtrusively presented with a bowl of individually wrapped chocolates. The presence of empty wrappers was manipulated, to indicate whether others who had been in the same situation had or had not eaten. Conformity to environmental cues about food choice was assessed in Study 3 (N = 90). Participants were required to choose between a healthy and an unhealthy snack. Food wrappers indicated whether previous participants had chosen the healthy or the unhealthy snack. Results: As expected, participants were more likely to take chocolates in the presence of an environmental cue that others did too. Also, participants were more likely to choose a snack that was consistent with the choice of others. Conclusions: Together, these findings support our main hypothesis that environmental cues steer people’s decisions concerning food intake and food choice. Moreover, the results suggest that only small changes in the environment may support healthy eating behavior.
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