Communicating eating-related rules. Suggestions are more effective than restrictions

We aimed to investigate if a milder form of social influence, a suggested rule, is more successful in curbing intake of unhealthy food

F. Marijn Stok; Emely de Vet; John B.F. de Wit; Britta Renner; Denise T.D. de Ridder

2014

Scholarcy highlights

  • A common social influence technique for curbing unhealthy eating behavior is to communicate eating-related rules
  • Previous research has shown that such restrictive rules sometimes backfire and increase unhealthy consumption
  • We aimed to investigate if a milder form of social influence, a suggested rule, is more successful in curbing intake of unhealthy food
  • We investigated how both types of rules affected psychological reactance
  • Measures of reactance were assessed after the creativity task
  • A taste test was administered where all participants were allowed to consume M&M's. Across both studies, consumption during the creativity task did not differ between the restrictive- and suggested-rule-conditions, indicating that both are successful in preventing initial consumption
  • The authors would like to thank Fee Benz, Rachel Gabauer, Inge de Kerf, Rixt Meinderts and Jair Shankar for their help with data collection

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