Better Moods for Better Eating? How Mood Influences Food Choice
Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24:320-335, 2014
32 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2016
Date Written: March 15, 2004
In the battle of obesity, marketers have been accused of unfairly promoting the consumption of “comfort foods,” which are often assumed to be low in nutrients and high in sugar, fat, and regret. Clinical research of these foods has focused on and confounded “bad moods and bad foods,” neglecting any investigation of favorable moods and nutritious foods. Building on the hedonic contingency hypothesis, we use a mood maintenance framework to explore whether different types of comfort foods fulfill different purposes depending on one’s mood. Results from a national survey and from two lab studies challenge conventional clinical wisdom by showing people in positive moods tend prefer nutritive comfort foods while those in negative moods prefer less nutritive ones. These findings have relevance to both consumers as well as to researchers in marketing, psychology, and nutrition.
Keywords: Comfort foods, hedonic contingency, food selection, mood, nutrition, hunger, mood condition, nutritive foods, obesity, consumer behavior, consumer research, social psychology, health
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