Better Moods for Better Eating? How Mood Influences Food Choice

Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24:320-335, 2014

32 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2016

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Meryl P Gardner

University of Delaware

Sea Park

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Junyong Kim

University of Central Florida

Date Written: March 15, 2004

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Gardner, Meryl P and Park, Sea and Kim, Junyong, Better Moods for Better Eating? How Mood Influences Food Choice (March 15, 2004). Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24:320-335, 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711334

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Meryl P Gardner

University of Delaware ( email )

Newark, DE 19711
United States

Sea Park

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ( email )

601 E John St
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Junyong Kim

University of Central Florida ( email )

4000 Central Florida Blvd
Orlando, FL 32816-1400
United States

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