Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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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 490339
Title Health on impulse: when low self-control promotes healthy food choices
Author(s) Salmon, S.J.; Fennis, B.M.; Ridder, D.T.D. de; Adriaanse, M.A.; Vet, E. de
Source Health Psychology 33 (2014)2. - ISSN 0278-6133 - p. 103 - 109.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031785
Department(s) Strategic Communication
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) physical-activity - limited-resource - ego depletion - behavior - interventions - metaanalysis - adolescents - success
Abstract OBJECTIVE: Food choices are often made mindlessly, when individuals are not able or willing to exert self-control. Under low self-control, individuals have difficulties to resist palatable but unhealthy food products. In contrast to previous research aiming to foster healthy choices by promoting high self-control, this study exploits situations of low self-control, by strategically using the tendency under these conditions to rely on heuristics (simple decision rules) as quick guides to action. More specifically, the authors associated healthy food products with the social proof heuristic (i.e., normative cues that convey majority endorsement for those products). METHOD: One hundred seventy-seven students (119 men), with an average age of 20.47 years (SD = 2.25) participated in the experiment. This study used a 2 (low vs. high self-control) × 2 (social proof vs. no heuristic) × 2 (trade-off vs. control choice) design, with the latter as within-subjects factor. The dependent variable was the number of healthy food choices in a food-choice task. RESULTS: In line with previous studies, people made fewer healthy food choices under low self-control. However, this negative effect of low self-control on food choice was reversed when the healthy option was associated with the social proof heuristic. In that case, people made more healthy choices under conditions of low self-control. CONCLUSION: Low self-control may be even more beneficial for healthy food choices than high self-control in the presence of a heuristic. Exploiting situations of low self-control is a new and promising method to promote health on impulse.
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