Asparagus, a Love Story: Healthier Eating Could Be Just a False Memory Away

Experimental Psychology, Vol. 55, No. 5, pp. 291-300, 2008

UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2008-13

11 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2008 Last revised: 12 Sep 2010

See all articles by Cara Laney

Cara Laney

Reed College, Psychology

Erin K. Morris

University of California, Irvine

Daniel M. Bernstein

Kwantlen Polytechnic University; University of Washington

Briana M. Wakefield

University of Washington

Elizabeth F. Loftus

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior; University of California, Irvine School of Law

Date Written: September 8, 2010

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Laney, Cara and Morris, Erin K. and Bernstein, Daniel M. and Wakefield, Briana M. and Loftus, Elizabeth F., Asparagus, a Love Story: Healthier Eating Could Be Just a False Memory Away (September 8, 2010). Experimental Psychology, Vol. 55, No. 5, pp. 291-300, 2008; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2008-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1270193

Cara Laney

Reed College, Psychology ( email )

3203 SE Woodstock Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202
United States
503/517-7489 (Phone)

Erin K. Morris

University of California, Irvine

Campus Drive
Irvine, CA 62697-3125
United States

Daniel M. Bernstein

Kwantlen Polytechnic University ( email )

12666-72nd Avenue
Surrey, British Columbia V3W 2M8
Canada
604-599-3372 (Phone)

University of Washington ( email )

Seattle, WA 98195
United States
206 616-6107 (Phone)

Briana M. Wakefield

University of Washington

Seattle, WA 98195
United States

Elizabeth F. Loftus (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Department of Psychology and Social Behavior ( email )

4201 Social & Behavioral Sciences Gateway
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-7085
United States

University of California, Irvine School of Law

401 E. Peltason Dr.
Ste. 1000
Irvine, CA 92697-1000
United States

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