Taming temptation: Visual perspective impacts the consumption and willingness to pay for unhealthy foods

Brittany M. Christian, Lynden Miles, Sophie Kenyari, Jennifer Mattschey, C. Neil Macrae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While thinking about food is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, the perils of imaginary eating are well documented; food-related mental imagery elevates both cravings and consumption. Given the serious health issues that often arise from overeating and obesity, identifying strategies that can be used to combat the link between imagination and consumption is, therefore, of considerable theoretical and practical importance. Here we explored the possibility that a fundamental property of mental imagerythe visual perspective from which an event is viewed-may alter the appraisal of unhealthy foods. Specifically, because it is accompanied by attenuated sensorimotor activity, third-person (cf. first-person) imagery was expected to weaken the link between imagination and consumption. The results of 3 studies supported this prediction showing that third-person (cf. first-person) simulations decreased the mental representation, actual consumption, and willingness to pay for desirable items. Driving these effects was the natural reduction of sensory components furnished by third-person imagery. Together, these findings suggest that adoption of a third-person vantage point during mental imagery may be a viable and effective tactic for curbing consumption in everyday life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Imagery (Psychotherapy)
Food
Imagination
Hyperphagia
Obesity
Eating
Health

Cite this

Christian, Brittany M. ; Miles, Lynden ; Kenyari, Sophie ; Mattschey, Jennifer ; Macrae, C. Neil. / Taming temptation : Visual perspective impacts the consumption and willingness to pay for unhealthy foods. In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 2016 ; Vol. 22, No. 1. pp. 85-94.
@article{fdcb083ace5f4a8191f846ebdf0ad93d,
title = "Taming temptation: Visual perspective impacts the consumption and willingness to pay for unhealthy foods",
abstract = "While thinking about food is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, the perils of imaginary eating are well documented; food-related mental imagery elevates both cravings and consumption. Given the serious health issues that often arise from overeating and obesity, identifying strategies that can be used to combat the link between imagination and consumption is, therefore, of considerable theoretical and practical importance. Here we explored the possibility that a fundamental property of mental imagerythe visual perspective from which an event is viewed-may alter the appraisal of unhealthy foods. Specifically, because it is accompanied by attenuated sensorimotor activity, third-person (cf. first-person) imagery was expected to weaken the link between imagination and consumption. The results of 3 studies supported this prediction showing that third-person (cf. first-person) simulations decreased the mental representation, actual consumption, and willingness to pay for desirable items. Driving these effects was the natural reduction of sensory components furnished by third-person imagery. Together, these findings suggest that adoption of a third-person vantage point during mental imagery may be a viable and effective tactic for curbing consumption in everyday life.",
author = "Christian, {Brittany M.} and Lynden Miles and Sophie Kenyari and Jennifer Mattschey and Macrae, {C. Neil}",
year = "2016",
month = "3",
doi = "10.1037/xap0000067",
language = "English",
volume = "22",
pages = "85--94",
journal = "JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED",
issn = "1076-898X",
publisher = "American Psychological Association",
number = "1",

}

Taming temptation : Visual perspective impacts the consumption and willingness to pay for unhealthy foods. / Christian, Brittany M.; Miles, Lynden; Kenyari, Sophie; Mattschey, Jennifer; Macrae, C. Neil.

In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol. 22, No. 1, 03.2016, p. 85-94.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Taming temptation

T2 - Visual perspective impacts the consumption and willingness to pay for unhealthy foods

AU - Christian, Brittany M.

AU - Miles, Lynden

AU - Kenyari, Sophie

AU - Mattschey, Jennifer

AU - Macrae, C. Neil

PY - 2016/3

Y1 - 2016/3

N2 - While thinking about food is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, the perils of imaginary eating are well documented; food-related mental imagery elevates both cravings and consumption. Given the serious health issues that often arise from overeating and obesity, identifying strategies that can be used to combat the link between imagination and consumption is, therefore, of considerable theoretical and practical importance. Here we explored the possibility that a fundamental property of mental imagerythe visual perspective from which an event is viewed-may alter the appraisal of unhealthy foods. Specifically, because it is accompanied by attenuated sensorimotor activity, third-person (cf. first-person) imagery was expected to weaken the link between imagination and consumption. The results of 3 studies supported this prediction showing that third-person (cf. first-person) simulations decreased the mental representation, actual consumption, and willingness to pay for desirable items. Driving these effects was the natural reduction of sensory components furnished by third-person imagery. Together, these findings suggest that adoption of a third-person vantage point during mental imagery may be a viable and effective tactic for curbing consumption in everyday life.

AB - While thinking about food is a ubiquitous facet of daily life, the perils of imaginary eating are well documented; food-related mental imagery elevates both cravings and consumption. Given the serious health issues that often arise from overeating and obesity, identifying strategies that can be used to combat the link between imagination and consumption is, therefore, of considerable theoretical and practical importance. Here we explored the possibility that a fundamental property of mental imagerythe visual perspective from which an event is viewed-may alter the appraisal of unhealthy foods. Specifically, because it is accompanied by attenuated sensorimotor activity, third-person (cf. first-person) imagery was expected to weaken the link between imagination and consumption. The results of 3 studies supported this prediction showing that third-person (cf. first-person) simulations decreased the mental representation, actual consumption, and willingness to pay for desirable items. Driving these effects was the natural reduction of sensory components furnished by third-person imagery. Together, these findings suggest that adoption of a third-person vantage point during mental imagery may be a viable and effective tactic for curbing consumption in everyday life.

U2 - 10.1037/xap0000067

DO - 10.1037/xap0000067

M3 - Article

VL - 22

SP - 85

EP - 94

JO - JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED

JF - JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED

SN - 1076-898X

IS - 1

ER -