The present study tested the extent to which dietary preferences are altered by making aspects of the symbolic meaning of meat salient to participants. Individuals in the treatment group were informed of a previous scientific study which found that people who endorse social hierarchy and human dominance over nature consume more red and white meat, and that people who reject hierarchy and dominance eat more fruits and vegetables. The results showed that, compared to a control group, individuals in the treatment group who reject hierarchy and dominance (most participants) perceived red and white meat less favourably, decreased their liking of red and white meat, decreased their object identification with red and white meat, anticipated that they would eat more fruits and vegetables in the subsequent three days, and indeed consumed more fruits and vegetables in a follow-up study three weeks later. Moreover, the salience manipulation's ability to induce a negative response toward red and white meat and greater acceptance of fruits and vegetables was strongest for individuals in the treatment group for whom the salience manipulation made sense, individuals with less confidence in their diet choices, those who had previously considered reducing their meat consumption, and low/normal weight persons. These findings have implications for health promotion and for theories of food choice.
Appetite – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2002
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