Watch what you watch: The effect of exposure to food-related television content on the accessibility of a hedonic eating goal
Number of pages
SourceAppetite, 134, (2019), pp. 204-211
Article / Letter to editor
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SubjectCommunication and Media
Background: This study examined whether seeing food-related TV content affected the accessibility of a hedonic eating goal differently for people scoring relatively high or low on chronic dieting (i.e., eating restraint) and perceived self-regulatory success (i.e., PSRS). Methods: Three between-subjects experiments were conducted in which participants were exposed to food-related or non-food related TV content. In Experiment 1 (student sample, N = 111) and Experiment 2 (community sample, N = 69) participants watched TV commercials for food or non-food products and in Experiment 3 (student sample, N = 102) a cooking show or a non-food TV show. Hedonic eating goal accessibility was assessed by means of a lexical decision task (LDT). Eating restraint and PSRS were measured afterwards. Results: The expected three-way interaction between TV content, eating restraint, and PSRS on hedonic eating goal accessibility was not found in Experiments 1 and 2. In Experiment 3, a three-way interaction was found although effects were short-lived. As expected, watching food-related versus non-food related TV content resulted in more hedonic eating goal accessibility among people relatively high in eating restraint but low in PSRS (i.e., unsuccessful restrained eaters), but in less accessibility among participants relatively high in both eating restraint and PSRS (i.e., successful restrained eaters). Discussion: As effects were found after watching a cooking show (Experiment 3) but not after watching TV commercials (Experiments 1 and 2), future research should explore whether the type of TV content might play a role in the effects of food-related TV content on hedonic eating goal accessibility, as well as whether the effects found on goal accessibility translate into actual food choices.
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