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Appetite. 2012 Apr;58(2):699-702. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.12.023. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

The color red reduces snack food and soft drink intake.

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  • 1University of Basel, Department of Social and Economic Psychology, Missionsstrasse 62A, 4055 Basel, Switzerland.


Based on evidence that the color red elicits avoidance motivation across contexts (Mehta & Zhu, 2009), two studies investigated the effect of the color red on snack food and soft drink consumption. In line with our hypothesis, participants drank less from a red labeled cup than from a blue labeled cup (Study 1), and ate less snack food from a red plate than from a blue or white plate (Study 2). The results suggest that red functions as a subtle stop signal that works outside of focused awareness and thereby reduces incidental food and drink intake.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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