The Color Red Supports Avoidance Reactions to Unhealthy Food

The Color Red Supports Avoidance Reactions to Unhealthy Food Empirical evidence suggests that the color red acts likean implicit avoidance cue in food contexts. Thus specific colors seem to guidethe implicit evaluation of food items. We built upon this research byinvestigating the implicit meaning of color (red vs. green) in anapproach-avoidance task with healthy and unhealthy food items. Thus, we examinedthe joint evaluative effects of color and food: Participants had to categorizefood items by approach-avoidance reactions, according to their healthfulness.Items were surrounded by task-irrelevant red or green circles. We found that theimplicit meaning of the traffic light colors influenced participants’reactions to the food items. The color red (compared to green) facilitatedautomatic avoidance reactions to unhealthy foods. By contrast, approach behaviortoward healthy food items was not moderated by color. Our findings suggest thattraffic light colors can act as implicit cues that guide automatic behavioralreactions to food. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Experimental Psychology American Psychological Association

The Color Red Supports Avoidance Reactions to Unhealthy Food

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Publisher
American Psychological Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Hogrefe Publishing
ISSN
1618-3169
eISSN
2190-5142
DOI
10.1027/1618-3169/a000299
pmid
26592533
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Empirical evidence suggests that the color red acts likean implicit avoidance cue in food contexts. Thus specific colors seem to guidethe implicit evaluation of food items. We built upon this research byinvestigating the implicit meaning of color (red vs. green) in anapproach-avoidance task with healthy and unhealthy food items. Thus, we examinedthe joint evaluative effects of color and food: Participants had to categorizefood items by approach-avoidance reactions, according to their healthfulness.Items were surrounded by task-irrelevant red or green circles. We found that theimplicit meaning of the traffic light colors influenced participants’reactions to the food items. The color red (compared to green) facilitatedautomatic avoidance reactions to unhealthy foods. By contrast, approach behaviortoward healthy food items was not moderated by color. Our findings suggest thattraffic light colors can act as implicit cues that guide automatic behavioralreactions to food.

Journal

Experimental PsychologyAmerican Psychological Association

Published: Jan 1, 2015

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