Looking at flip side can abort temptations

December 15th, 2009 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Dec 15 (IANS) Your ability to resist a tempting cookie depends on how you perceive it as a threat, says a new research.
Study authors Ying Zhang, Szu-Chi Huang and Susan M. Broniarczyk from the University of Texas-Austin (UT-A) studied techniques that enable us resist food and other temptations.

“Four experiments show that when consumers encounter temptations that conflict with their long-term goals, one self-control mechanism is to exaggerate the negativity of the temptation as a way to resist, a process we call counteractive construal,” they said.

For example, in one study, female participants were asked to estimate the calories in a cookie. Half the participants were told that they have the option of receiving the cookie as a complimentary gift for participation and half were not.

The results showed that consumers with a strong dieting goal construed the cookie as having more calories and being more damaging to the attainment of their goal of weight loss.

In another study of 93 college students, researchers found that performers were more likely than others to gauge how an upcoming party might keep them longer from studies. They consequently reported disinclination to attend the party.

The authors also found that environmental stimuli such as posters could subtly activate people’s long-term diet goals and lead them to engage in such behaviour.

In one study, female participants entered a room that either had posters depicting fit models or nature scenery, said an UT-A release.

“Participants who were exposed to posters depicting fit models (goal-priming stimuli) were more likely to exaggerate the calories in a tempting drink that they expected to consume later on, and consequently consumed less when offered the drink,” the authors write.

These findings were published in the Journal of Consumer Research.

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