Monday, January 13, 2014

Slim by Design: Redirecting the Accidental Drivers of Mindless Overeating

Access the publisher's website  
Journal of Consumer Psychology 24, 3 (2014) 413-431

What food you decide to choose is very different than how much of it you decide to eat. As consumer psychologists, we understand food choice much better than food consumption. This review focuses on three powerful drivers of food consumption quantity: 1) Sensory cues (how your senses react), 2) emotional cues (how you feel), and 3) normative cues (how you are supposed to eat). These drivers influence consumption quantities partly because they bias our consumption monitoring – how much attention we pay to how much we eat. To date, consumption quantity research has comfortably focused on the first two drivers and on using education to combat overeating. In contrast, new research on consumption norms can uncover small changes in the eating environment (such as package downsizing, smaller dinnerware, and reduced visibility and convenience) that can be easily implemented in kitchens, restaurants, and public policies to improve our monitoring of how much we eat and to offer solutions to mindless overeating. It is easier to change our food environment than to change our mind.