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 553938
Title Identifying social norms in physical aspects of food environments: A photo study
Author(s) Raghoebar, Sanne; Rongen, Sofie van; Lie, Rico; Vet, Emely de
Source Appetite 143 (2019). - ISSN 0195-6663
Department(s) Consumption and Healthy Lifestyles
Knowledge Technology and Innovation
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Eating behavior - Food environments - Photo documentation - Physical cues - Semiology - Social norms

It is widely accepted that physical food environments can contribute to unhealthy eating, but less is known about how physical cues in these environments actually stimulate eating. Our study starts from the assumption that social norms are embedded in physical cues and aims to make an inventory of physical cues that communicate what is socially accepted as normal and/or appropriate to eat in a Dutch outside-the-home food context. In Study 1, we conducted a qualitative study in which photographs taken in self-service food environments were analyzed using strategies from photo documentation and semiology. Grounded theory was applied to identify a wide variety of specific physical cues that were ultimately grouped into 18 higher level categories of physical cues (e.g. consumption traces, product availability). Most cue categories were associated with either descriptive or injunctive social norms, but some were associated with both types. In Study 2, we aimed to quantitatively cross-validate the social norm interpretations among laypeople (N = 173) by focusing on two selected photographs. More than half of the physical cues that participants identified in these photographs as being influential had been identified in Study 1 as cues bearing a normative message. The results further indicated that other people's behavior is easier to recognize in physical food environments than signals about what ought to be done. Given the great variety of identified physical cues associated with social norms, we posit that social norms are widely embedded in food environments and might guide eating behavior. Further research should study the effects of these cues on behavior and test whether the underlying process can be attributed to social norm interpretations.

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