Asparagus, a Love Story: Healthier Eating Could Be Just a False Memory Away
Experimental Psychology, Vol. 55, No. 5, pp. 291-300, 2008
11 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2008 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010
Date Written: September 8, 2010
In two experiments, involving 231 subjects, we planted the suggestion that subjects loved to eat asparagus as children. Relative to controls, subjects receiving the suggestion became more confident that they had loved asparagus the first time the tried it. These new (false) beliefs had consequences for those who formed them, including increased general liking of asparagus, greater desire to eat asparagus in a restaurant setting, and a willingness to pay more for asparagus in the grocery store. Ratings of photographs made after the suggestion reveal that the altered nutritional choices may relate to the fact that the sight of asparagus simply looks more appetizing and appealing. These results demonstrate that adults can be led to believe that they had a positive food-related experience as children, and that these false beliefs can have healthy consequences.
Keywords: false memory, belief, consequences
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