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Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments

Vartanian, Lenny R., Kristin M. Kernan, and Brian Wansink (2016), “Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments,” Environment and Behavior. Online First: doi: 10.1177/0013916516628178.

15 Pages Posted: 7 Jan 2016 Last revised: 28 Apr 2017

Lenny R Vartanian

Syracuse University

Kristin Kernan

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Date Written: January 6, 2016

Abstract

How do cluttered, chaotic environments – such as messy kitchens – influence snacking behavior? How does one’s mindset help prevent unwanted snacking from occurring?

101 female undergraduate students participated under standard kitchen conditions or in a chaotic kitchen condition. Participants were also asked to recall and write about a time when they felt particularly in control or particularly out of control. Finally, participants were given cookies, crackers, and carrots to taste and rate.

Participants in the chaotic kitchen condition and the out-of-control mind-set condition consumed more cookies (103 kcal) than did participants who were in the in-control mind-set condition (38 kcal). The chaotic environment had no impact on consumption of crackers or carrots.

Although a chaotic environment can create a vulnerability to making unhealthy food choices, one’s mind-set in that environment can either trigger or buffer against that vulnerability.

Keywords: food intake, environmental chaos, personal control, mind-set, messy, clutter, consumption, trigger

Suggested Citation

Vartanian, Lenny R and Kernan, Kristin and Wansink, Brian, Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments (January 6, 2016). Vartanian, Lenny R., Kristin M. Kernan, and Brian Wansink (2016), “Clutter, Chaos, and Overconsumption: The Role of Mind-Set in Stressful and Chaotic Food Environments,” Environment and Behavior. Online First: doi: 10.1177/0013916516628178.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2711870 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2711870

Lenny R Vartanian

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Kristin Kernan

Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Students ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

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