From Groups to Grits: Social Identity Shapes Evaluations of Food Pleasantness

34 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2015 Last revised: 23 Sep 2015

Leor Hackel

New York University (NYU)

Géraldine Coppin

University of Geneva

Michael Wohl

Carleton University

Jay Van Bavel

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology

Date Written: September 19, 2015

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Hackel, Leor and Coppin, Géraldine and Wohl, Michael and Van Bavel, Jay, From Groups to Grits: Social Identity Shapes Evaluations of Food Pleasantness (September 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2662835 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2662835

Leor Hackel

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Géraldine Coppin

University of Geneva ( email )

Boulevard du pont d'Arve 40
Genève, CH - 1205
Switzerland

Michael Wohl

Carleton University ( email )

1125 colonel By Drive
Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6
Canada

Jay Van Bavel (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - Department of Psychology ( email )

New York, NY 10003
United States

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