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 454695
Title The unit size effect of indulgent food: How eating smaller sized items signals impulsivity and makes consumers eat less
Author(s) Kleef, E. van; Kavvouris, C.; Trijp, J.C.M. van
Source Psychology and Health 29 (2014)9. - ISSN 0887-0446 - p. 1081 - 1103.
DOI https://doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2014.909426
Department(s) Marketing and Consumer Behaviour
WASS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2014
Keyword(s) portion size - energy-intake - self-control - item sizes - consumption - children - decrease - obesity - cues - behavior
Abstract In deciding how much to eat, people are influenced by environmental cues. The unit size of food (i.e. the number of units in which a given amount of food is divided) provides such a cue. Previous research showed that given equal caloric and volumetric content, smaller units of food tend to reduce food consumption. We propose that the unit size of food impacts intake as it influences perceptions of impulsiveness and appropriateness. Our analysis is based on three experimental studies, all employing between subject designs. When consuming similar amounts of chocolates in studies 1 (n¿=¿118) and 2 (n¿=¿124), both studies show that consumption of five small units of chocolates is considered to be more impulsive, excessive and less appropriate than consuming one large unit of chocolate. Results of a third study (n¿=¿165) indicate that about 23% less chocolate is eaten when it is presented in small unit size vs. a large unit size and this effect is mediated by perceptions of impulsivity. All three studies suggest that perceptions of impulsivity and excess eating while eating several smaller units of food compared to one large unit might be a key factor explaining consumption effects in earlier studies on this bias.
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