From Groups to Grits: Social Identity Shapes Evaluations of Food Pleasantness
34 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2015 Last revised: 23 Sep 2015
Date Written: September 19, 2015
Throughout human history, food consumption has been deeply tied to cultural groups. In the current paper, we present three studies that demonstrate social identification influences evaluations of food pleasantness that underlie food choice. Specifically, individual differences in social identification (Study 1) as well as experimentally manipulated identity salience (Study 2) were associated with the anticipated tastiness of identity-relevant foods. We also found that identity salience shaped perceived food pleasantness during consumption (Study 3). Moreover, shifts in anticipated and perceived food pleasantness mediated changes in overall desire (Studies 1 and 2) and willingness-to-pay for foods (Studies 3). These findings suggest that social identity can shape evaluations of food pleasantness, revealing a novel process whereby social identification can influence food choices. We discuss implications for theories of identity, decision-making, food consumption, and public health.
Keywords: Social Identity, Food, Decision Making, Motivation, Culture
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