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Psychol Health. 2014;29(10):1192-205. doi: 10.1080/08870446.2014.918267. Epub 2014 May 21.

Exposure to television food advertising primes food-related cognitions and triggers motivation to eat.

Author information

1
a School of Psychology , Flinders University , Adelaide , Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This study investigated the effect of exposure to television food advertising on accessibility of food-related cognitions and motivation to eat.

DESIGN AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

We initially developed a word stem completion task to measure accessibility of food-related cognitions. In two subsequent experiments, 160 female undergraduate students (Experiment 1) and 124 overweight or obese community-dwelling women (Experiment 2) viewed a series of television commercials advertising either food or non-food products. They then completed the word stem task and also rated their desire to eat.

RESULTS:

Exposure to televised food advertisements led to the completion of word stems with more food- and eating-related words in both experiments. It also increased self-reported desire to eat, but only for overweight and obese individuals (Experiment 2). In both samples, there was a positive association between accessibility of food-related cognitions and reported desire to eat, following priming with television food advertisements.

CONCLUSION:

We conclude that an increased activation of food-related cognitions may provide a mechanism for the link between food advertising and consumption. This has implications for tackling pathological (over)eating.

KEYWORDS:

food cognitions; motivation to eat; obesity; priming; television food advertising; word stem completion task

PMID:
24773418
DOI:
10.1080/08870446.2014.918267
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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