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Suggesting childhood food illness results in reduced eating behavior

Scoboria, Alan; Mazzoni, Giuliana; Jarry, Josée L.


Alan Scoboria

Giuliana Mazzoni

Josée L. Jarry


Previous studies have shown that suggesting childhood events can influence current self-reported attitudes towards future behavior. This study shows that suggesting a false past event (i.e. becoming sick on a specific food during childhood) can modify present behavior (i.e. reduce eating of the food). Participants screened to be normal eaters received or did not receive a suggestion that they likely became sick on spoiled peach yogurt as a child. One week later they took part in an allegedly separate marketing taste-test study, during which they rated preferences for a variety of crackers and yogurts. After completing ratings, participants were invited to freely eat the remaining food while completing questionnaires. Results revealed that the participants receiving the suggestion expressed lower preference specifically for peach yogurt, and ate less yogurt of all the types, while not differing in eating of crackers. These results demonstrate that suggesting false past events influences subsequent behavior.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2008-06
Journal Acta Psychologica
Print ISSN 0001-6918
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 128
Issue 2
Pages 304-309
APA6 Citation Scoboria, A., Mazzoni, G., & Jarry, J. L. (2008). Suggesting childhood food illness results in reduced eating behavior. Acta psychologica, 128(2), (304-309). doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.03.002. ISSN 0001-6918
Keywords Suggestion; False belief; Avoidance; Food preferences
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