‘Past behaviour governs impulsive eating’

September 16th, 2008 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Sep 16 (IANS) Some people act more impulsively than others in case of tempting or fattening foods, according to a new study by Anirban Mukhopadhyay, Jaideep Sengupta and Suresh Ramanathan of the universities of Michigan, Hong Kong and Chicago.The researchers assessed the impulsiveness of participants in four related studies. They had participants recall instances where they succumbed to temptation or resisted it. Participants also had opportunities to eat cookies or cheeseballs - without knowing their acts were being tracked.

In the case of impulsive people, “thinking about failure may actually beget success”, wrote the authors in an article that will appear in the December issue of the Journal of Consumer Research.

“So what is it that makes people succumb to temptation, time after sinful time? We suggest that the likelihood of a repeat act of indulgence depends on what people recall doing the previous time they were faced with a similar choice,” the authors write.

“In general, chronically impulsive people are more likely to feel this conflict between the two forces - of giving in and holding back, while those who tend to be less impulsive are also less likely to experience such a struggle.”

The results of this study suggest ways to improve the health of both impulsive and non-impulsive consumers. Both groups did a better job of resisting temptation when they recalled past instances of resisting temptation along with their reasons for resisting.

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