Evaluative conditioning improves perceived taste of and intentions to eat healthy food

Update item information
Publication Type dissertation
School or College College of Social & Behavioral Science
Department Psychology
Author Taber, Jennifer Michelle
Title Evaluative conditioning improves perceived taste of and intentions to eat healthy food
Date 2013-12
Description Taste preferences are a major predictor of eating behavior, yet few interventions have attempted to improve healthy eating by increasing perceptions that healthy food tastes good. In an intervention designed to improve both expectations that healthy food will taste good and its actual taste, undergraduates (N=123; 66.7% female) were randomly assigned to a 5-minute long evaluative conditioning procedure in which images of healthy food were associated with either "good taste" or "good health." The taste condition led to expectations that a novel healthy cracker would be more enjoyable to eat and more filling than in the health condition. As shown by a serial mediation test, these expectations then led participants in the taste condition to enjoy eating a healthy cracker more and to perceive it as more filling. Participants in the taste condition also reported more positive attitudes toward healthy food and greater intentions to eat both the healthy cracker and a healthy diet in the future. Women in the taste condition tended to take more of a second, novel healthy cracker when selecting among healthy and unhealthy foods to take home at the end of the study. Additionally, favorable sensory experiences of eating the healthy cracker mediated the effect of condition on intentions to eat the healthy cracker and number of healthy crackers taken, while the perceived healthfulness of the cracker eaten did not, suggesting that sensory experience may better predict eating behavior than health characteristics of food. Although the majority of effects did not depend on baseline attitudes, the evaluative conditioning procedure led to greater intentions to eat a healthy diet only for individuals who reported relatively low enjoyment of eating healthy food and high negative attitudes toward healthy food at baseline. All analyses were statistically controlled for BMI, gender, typical whole grain consumption, and current weight loss goals. In conclusion, evaluative conditioning successfully changed the perceived taste of and attitudes toward healthy food. Future interventions may test whether different methods of associating healthy food with good taste improve eating behavior, and examine the type of healthy food to which this evaluative conditioning manipulation could be effectively applied.
Type Text
Publisher University of Utah
Subject Enjoyment; Evaluative conditioning; Psychology; Taste; Clinical psychology
Dissertation Institution University of Utah
Dissertation Name Doctor of Philosophy
Language eng
Rights Management (c) Jennifer Michelle Taber
Format Medium application/pdf
Format Extent 1,108,977 Bytes
Identifier etd3/id/3493
ARK ark:/87278/s6351tmj
Setname ir_etd
Date Created 2015-05-19
Date Modified 2020-04-02
ID 197047
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6351tmj
Back to Search Results