Making implicit measures of associations with snack foods more negative through evaluative conditioning.
ABSTRACT The present study examined whether implicit measures of associations with snack foods and food consumer behaviour could be changed through a picture-picture evaluative conditioning procedure. In the experimental condition (n=41), female participants completed a conditioning procedure in which pictures of snack foods were paired with images of negatively valenced female body shapes, and pictures of fruits were paired with images of positively valenced body shapes. In a control condition (n=44), snack and fruit stimuli were randomly paired with positively and negatively valenced body shapes. Implicit measures of associations with high-fat snack foods were obtained by using a positive and a negative unipolar single category Implicit Association Test (sc-IAT). A virtual supermarket task was used to assess food consumer behaviour. Results indicated that participants in the experimental condition held a less positive association with high-fat foods on the positive sc-IAT and a more negative association with these foods on the negative sc-IAT as compared to control participants. Opposed to our hypothesis, no behavioural differences were found between the groups. These results imply that this form of associative learning can produce shifts in implicit measures of food evaluations, though behavioural effects were absent.