One debriefing was held for all children following completion of the sessions at their school or camp to minimize the possibility that children would share information about the purpose of the study with future participants. In the following studies, we experimentally test whether television food advertising, embedded as it would naturally occur within a television program, will prime, or directly activate, an automatic increase in snack food consumption. In both experiments, food advertising increased consumption of products not in the presented advertisements, and these effects were not related to reported hunger or other conscious influences. In this episode, the class goes on a field trip to a science museum. We propose that the messages presented in television food advertising similarly have the power to act as real-world primes and lead to corresponding eating behaviors. Therefore, to increase the power of the statistical analyses, we combined results for the two experiments in the following analysis of eating behaviors. Advertising for goldfish crackers was not presented during the cartoon. The trend is especially disturbing among young people. An important real-life source of priming influences is the media, including television programs and advertisements.
Priming methods provide a means to test for these automatic causal effects. Food advertising Advertising for food and beverages communicates potentially powerful food consumption cues, including images of attractive models eating, snacking at non-meal times, and positive emotions linked to food consumption Folta et al. External cues, not related to the sensory qualities of food, e. One-half of the children were randomly assigned to watch a version that included 4 sec. The children met with the experimenter individually at their school or camp for approximately 30 min. Parents who requested more information were informed that we were measuring how food advertising affects eating behaviors, but asked not to share that information with their children before the study. The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at Health Psychol See other articles in PMC that cite the published article. An important real-life source of priming influences is the media, including television programs and advertisements. As a result, we know very little about how advertising for more nutritious food affects eating behaviors. In Experiment 1b, we also collected child reports of their own television viewing: Moreover, food advertising to children portrays unhealthy eating behaviors with positive outcomes. For school participants, sessions were held after school. Parents received a description of the experimental procedure. Therefore, to increase the power of the statistical analyses, we combined results for the two experiments in the following analysis of eating behaviors. Experiments 1a and 1b In Experiment 1a, we tested our primary hypothesis that elementary-school-aged children would consume significantly more snack food while watching a cartoon that included food advertising. Design In Experiments 1a and 1b, elementary-school-aged children watched a cartoon that contained either food advertising or advertising for other products and received a snack while watching. In addition, in line with the Halford et al. Interested parents also attended, and all parents received a debriefing in the mail. In addition, as assessed through correlational and quasi-experimental studies, heavier media viewing often predicts more unhealthy diets and higher body weight among children see IOM, This research tests the hypothesis that exposure to food advertising during television viewing may also contribute to obesity by triggering automatic snacking of available food. Procedure and Materials Parents with children in participating schools received a letter inviting them to volunteer with their children for a study to understand television influences. The adults then tasted and evaluated a range of healthy to unhealthy snack foods in an apparently separate experiment. The experimenter then left the room, returned after the cartoon was finished, and asked the children when they had last eaten prior to the experiment. Adults consumed more of both healthy and unhealthy snack foods following exposure to snack food advertising compared to the other conditions. The trend is especially disturbing among young people.
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