Might an overweight waitress make you eat more? How the body type of others is sufficient to alter our food consumption

Brent McFerran, Darren W. Dahl, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, Andrea Ketcham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations

Abstract

This paper investigates how people's food choices can be shaped by the body type of others around them. Using a professionally constructed obesity prosthesis, we show that the body type of a (confederate) server in a taste test study was sufficient to alter both the quantity (Experiment 1) and specific choices (Experiment 2) participants made but that chronic dieters and non-dieters exhibited opposite effects. While non-dieters ate more snacks when the server was thin, dieters ate more when the server was heavy. Dieters were also more persuaded by a heavy (vs. a thin) server, choosing both a healthy and unhealthy snack more often when she recommended it to them. We suggest these results may be attributable to identification with the server.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-151
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Consumer Psychology
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2010

Keywords

  • food choice
  • identification
  • obesity
  • priming
  • social influence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Marketing

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