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Appetite. 2012 Apr;58(2):754-7. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.12.002. Epub 2011 Dec 8.

Modeling of food intake is moderated by salient psychological group membership.

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Department of Psychology, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.


The present study demonstrates the utility of a social identity analysis of social influence in predicting eating behavior. In a laboratory experiment, female undergraduate students observed a confederate who appeared to have eaten a large or small amount of popcorn. The confederate was presented as either a fellow in-group member of a salient identity (same university) or an out-group member (another tertiary institution). Results supported the hypothesis that modeling of eating behavior only occurs for psychologically salient in-group members; there was no modeling of out-group members' eating. These data also provide clear evidence of a psychological mechanism by which the modeling of eating behavior can occur.

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