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J Appl Psychol. 1998 Dec;83(6):944-9.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the thinnest one of all? Effects of self-awareness on consumption of full-fat, reduced-fat, and no-fat products.

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Department of Psychology, Iowa State University, Ames 50011-3180, USA.


Two studies tested whether self-focusing situations influence people to avoid fatty food. In Study 1, college students tasted full-, reduced-, and no-fat cream cheese spreads on bagelettes. A large mirror was present in the room for some students and was absent for the remaining students. In Study 2, shoppers at large supermarkets tasted full-, reduced-, and no-fat margarine spread on bread. A large mirror was present on the table top for some shoppers and was absent for the remaining shoppers. In both studies, individuals in the mirror group ate less of the full-fat product than did those in the no-mirror group. The presence of a mirror did not influence consumption of reduced- and no-fat products, perhaps because people thought these products were not unhealthy. These findings support self-awareness theory and suggest that individuals on weight reduction programs may benefit from making food choices in self-focusing situations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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