On a diet? Try a chocolate cake… wallpaper!
The recent finding of a study conducted by psychologist Floor Kroese of Utrecht University in the Netherlands could make the life of weight-conscious people easier. Kroese contrary to popural beliefs speculated that temptation might in fact heighten self-control and encourage people to make healthier food choices. These hypotheses were based on counteractive control theory according to which temptations trigger goal-directed behaviour.
The hypotheses were tested by asking 54 female students to look at a picture of either a slice of chocolate cake or a flower. The true nature of this experiment wasn’t revealed to the participants. They were told it was a memory test. Then the researchers questioned the students about their plans to eat healthier and offered them a choice between a chocolate or oatmeal cookie.
The participants earlier shown the picture of the cake seemed more motivated to make healthier choices and were significantly more likely than the ones shown the flower to pick the oatmeal cookie.
It seems that the sight of food instead of triggering indulgence reminded the weight-conscious women their goal and encourage them to act accordingly.
Kroese suggests that sticking pictures of tempting foods on the fridge door may help to bring weight-watching goals to mind. However, we aren’t yet sure if the effects will be similar in people who don’t really want to lose weight.
P.S.: Time to test my chocolate cake wallpaper…
Leading Us Not Unto Temptation: Momentary Allurements Elicit Overriding Goal Activation
Healthy Cognition: Processes of Self-Regulatory Success in Restrained Eating
When impulses take over: Moderated predictive validity of explicit and implicit attitude measures in predicting food choice and consumption behaviour
The Allure of Forbidden Food: A Goal Conflict Perspective On Dieting
Photos of cake can keep you slim, say psychologists