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Appetite. 1999 Apr;32(2):261-71.

Assessing food neophobia: the role of stimulus familiarity.

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Department of Psychology, Wheeling Jesuit University, USA.


The present study assesses the effects of food familiarity on food ratings of neophobics and neophilics by having them sample and evaluate familiar and novel foods. Level of neophobia was assessed using the Food Neophobia Scale (FNS). Participants rated their familiarity with each food, their willingness to try the foods and expected liking for the foods, as well as their actual liking for the foods after they were sampled. Willingness to try the foods again in the future, and the amount of food sampled were also assessed. Evaluations of the foods were more positive for familiar vs. unfamiliar foods across all study participants. The responses of neophobics and neophilics were similar for familiar foods, but differed when the foods were unfamiliar, with neophobics making more negative evaluations. Neophobics and neophilics differed least in their liking ratings of the stimuli that were made after the foods were actually sampled, and differed most in their ratings of willingness to try the foods. It is concluded that neophobics have different expectancies about unfamiliar foods, and that these expectancies influence food sampling and rating behaviors. The neophobic's negative attitude toward an unfamiliar food may be ameliorated, but is not eliminated, once sensory information about the food is obtained.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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