Kids, Cartoons, and Cookies: Stereotype Priming Effects on Children's Food Consumption

Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming

28 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2015

See all articles by Margaret C. Campbell

Margaret C. Campbell

University of Colorado at Boulder

Kenneth Manning

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Bridget Leonard

Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne

Hannah Manning

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Date Written: June 25, 2015

Abstract

In studies with adult participants, exposure to a prime that activates a stereotype can lead to stereotype-consistent behavior. Given significant differences in cognitive development, stereotype formation, and use of stereotypes from early childhood to adulthood, the emergence of such behavioral priming effects in childhood is uncertain. To begin addressing whether children exhibit behavioral priming effects from stereotype exposure, we conduct three experiments in which children are exposed to either a normal weight or overweight cartoon character prime, and subsequently (as an unrelated activity) have access to high energy, low-nutrient food. Our results with children from 6 to 14 years old indicate that overweight cartoon character primes can activate the overweight stereotype, leading to relatively high levels of food intake. This effect persisted when participants were simultaneously exposed to a normal weight and an overweight character together (study 2), and was successfully moderated by the activation of health knowledge (study 3).

Keywords: children, priming, stereotypes, obesity, behavioral priming, food consumption

Suggested Citation

Campbell, Margaret C. and Manning, Kenneth and Leonard, Bridget and Manning, Hannah, Kids, Cartoons, and Cookies: Stereotype Priming Effects on Children's Food Consumption (June 25, 2015). Journal of Consumer Psychology, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623233

Margaret C. Campbell (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Leeds School of Business
419 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Kenneth Manning

Colorado State University, Fort Collins ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

Bridget Leonard

Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne ( email )

2101 E Coliseum Boulevard East
Fort Wayne, IN 46805-1499
United States

Hannah Manning

Colorado State University, Fort Collins ( email )

Fort Collins, CO 80523-1771
United States

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