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Pleasure as a Substitute for Size: How Multisensory Imagery Can Make People Happier with Smaller Food Portions

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Research on overeating assumes that pleasure must be sacrificed for the sake of good health. Contrary to this view, the authors show that focusing on sensory pleasure can make people happier and willing to spend more for less food, a triple win for public health, consumers and businesses alike. In five experiments, American and French adults and children were asked to imagine vividly the taste, smell and oro-haptic sensations of three hedonic foods prior to choosing a portion size of another hedonic food. Compared to a control condition, this “multisensory imagery” intervention led hungry and non-dieting people to choose smaller food portions, yet they anticipated greater eating enjoyment and were willing to pay more for them. This occurred because it prompted participants to evaluate portions based on expected sensory pleasure, which peaks with smaller portions, rather than on hunger. In contrast, health-based interventions led people to choose a smaller portion than the one they expected to enjoy most—a hedonic cost for them and an economic cost for food marketers.
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YANN CORNIL and PIERRE CHANDON*
Research on overeating assumes that pleasure must be sacriced for
the sake of good health. Contrary to this view, the authors show that focusing
on sensory pleasure can make people happier and willing to spend more for
less food, a triple win for public health, consumers, and companies alike. In
ve experiments, the authors ask U.S. and French adults and children to
imagine vividly the taste, smell, and texture of three hedonic foods before
choosing a portion size of another hedonic food. Compared with a control
condition, this multisensory imageryintervention led hungry and nondieting
people to choose smaller food portions, and they anticipated greater eating
enjoyment and were willing to pay more for them. This occurred because
multisensory imagery prompted participants to evaluate portions on the basis
of expected sensory pleasure, which peaks with smaller portions, rather
than hunger. In contrast, health-based interventions led people to choose a
smaller portion than the one they expected toenjoy mosta hedonic cost for
them and an economic cost for food marketers.
Keywords: food consumption, health, portion size, nutrition, mental
imagery
Online Supplement: http://dx.doi.org/10.1509/jmr.14.0299
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size: How
Multisensory Imagery Can Make People
Happier with Smaller Food Portions
A wise person does not simply choose the largest amount
of food but the most pleasing food.
Epicurus (341270 BC), Letter to Menoeceus
In most fast-food restaurants and on an increasing number
of other eating occasions, customers ordering a beverage or
dessert must choose between different portion sizes. Most por-
tions are much larger than the U.S. Department of Agricultures
recommended serving size, contributing to overeating, obesity,
and food waste (Hall et al. 2009; Ledikwe, Ello-Martin, and
Rolls 2005; Nestle 2003; Rolls, Roe, and Meengs 2007;
Zlatevska, Dubelaar, and Holden 2014). So the question is,
How can people be encouraged to chooseand actually
prefersmaller food portions, and can this be done without
hurting either eating enjoyment or food sales?
To curb supersizing, governments and public health insti-
tutions have advocated portion size limits and health appeals
(e.g., warnings, food labeling) designed to encourage people
to trade off the expected enjoyment of hedonic foods against
the health benets (Belei et al. 2012; Raghunathan, Naylor,
and Hoyer 2006; Shiv and Fedorikhin 1999). Such efforts have
had limited success because they come at a hedonic cost for
consumers who like to eat larger portions of pleasurable
foods (Patterson et al. 2001) and imply an economic cost
for food marketers that typically extract higher prots from
larger portions (Dobson and Gerstner 2010).
This research explores ways to make people who have
already decided to eat a hedonic food actually prefer (not
*Yann Cornil is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Sauder School of
Business, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada (e-mail: yann.
cornil@sauder.ubc.ca). Pierre Chandon is LOr´eal Chaired Professor of
Marketing, Innovation and Creativity, INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France
(e-mail: pierre.chandon@insead.edu). The authors thank Quentin Andr´e,
Dimitri Vasiljevic, Beth Pavlicek, and Nicolas Manoharan for research
assistance. They thank the teachers and staff of Ecole Le Petit Prince (France)
and the staff at the INSEAD Sorbonne Behavioural Lab (France) for their help
with some of the data collection. They acknowledge the nancial support of
the Sheth Foundation (2014 ACR/Sheth Foundation Dissertation Grant).
Finally, they thank the Institute for Cardio-metabolismand Nutrition. Deborah
Small served as associate editor for this article.
© 2016, American Marketing Association Journal of Marketing Research
ISSN: 0022-2437 (print) Vol. LIII (October 2016), 847864
1547-7193 (electronic) DOI: 10.1509/jmr.14.0299847
just choose) smaller food portions, at no hedonic cost to
themselves and no economic cost to producers. Challenging
the assumption that sensory pleasure is the enemy of healthful
eating, we design and test a new intervention, multisensory
mental imagery, as an alternative to health warnings. Our
intervention asks people to vividly imagine the multisensory
pleasure (taste, smell, and texture) of three hedonic foods
before choosing the size of another hedonic food and can be
implemented with simple instructions or more vivid menu
descriptions. A series of experiments show that multisen-
sory imagery leads people (as long as they are not sated or
dieting) to choose smaller portions of chocolate cake or soft
drinks than people in a control condition. We replicate this
effect among children and adults and among French and
U.S. consumers. We also show that unlike health warnings,
multisensory imagery makes consumers expect at least as
much enjoyment from (and willing to pay at least the same
price for) the smaller portions chosen as the larger portions
chosen in a control condition. Because smaller portions are
actually more enjoyable, multisensory imagery improves the
calibration between expected and actual enjoyment.
Our proposed mechanism is that multisensory imagery
helps people realize that sensory pleasure peaks with smaller
portions and declines with larger portions, a phenomenon
called sensory-specic satiation.Furthermore, multisen-
sory imagery increases the relative importance of sensory
pleasure when choosing portion sizes and reduces the rel-
ative importance of otherwise more salient criteria of choice
such as hunger or dieting constraints for dieters. By default
(i.e., in a control condition), people naturally choose large
food portions when they are hungry and not on a diet and
smaller food portions when they are sated or on a diet. Thus,
because focusing on sensory pleasure enhances the appeal
of smaller portions, sensory imagery leads hungry and non-
dieting people (i.e., most restaurant patrons) to choose smaller
portions than in the control condition when they would nor-
mally focus on satisfying their hunger. However, sensory
imagery does not have this effect when people are sated or
dieting and therefore already choose small portions in the
control condition.
In summary, compared with health warnings, focusing
on sensory pleasure can achieve a better balance among
consumer enjoyment, business goals, and public health.
Our research offers suggestive support for an intervention
that may achieve a greater goodin the real world, though
additional research is necessary to test the size and re-
liability of the effect in more realistic settings. Our ndings
contribute to the debate on the sustainability of the food
industryparticularly fast-food restaurantsnotably its ability
to grow without exacerbating the obesity epidemic (Chandon
and Wansink 2012; Ludwig and Nestle 2008). They extend
research on mindful eating(Kidwell, Hardesty, and Childers
2008; Papies et al. 2012), which focuses on impulsive eating
but has neglected portion size choice. They also advance
understanding of the behavioral consequences of simulated
eating, showing that some forms of simulated eating (mul-
tisensory imagery) can increase the anticipated pleasure of
eating while others (repeated simulated eating) can re-
duce it (Larson, Redden, and Elder 2014; Morewedge, Huh,
and Vosgerau 2010). Overall, our results are in line with
the movement advocating a paradigm shift from food
as healthto food as well-beingandwiththecallfor
pleasure to be given a more holistic and positive role in
food consumption (Block et al. 2011).
CONCEPTUAL BACKGROUND: MULTISENSORY
PLEASURE AND PORTION SIZE
Although the current obesity epidemic is largely driven
by ever-increasing food portion sizes, public policy and re-
lated research efforts have tended to focus on what people
choose to eat rather than how much they choose to eat (Chandon
and Wansink 2012). In particular, the role of sensory pleasure
on portion size choice (after people know what they want to eat)
is not well understood.
Portion Size Preferences: The Role of Hunger, Health, and
Sensory Pleasure
When choosing between a small or large food portion,
leaving aside price considerations, consumers are inuenced
by at least three expectations: (1) Will it satiate their hunger?
(2) How will it affect their health and weight? and (3) How
pleasurable will it be? Hunger tends to lead people to choose
larger portion sizes (Herman and Polivy 1983). Indeed,
portion size choice is governed primarily by expectations of the
foods capacity to satiate hunger (Brunstrom 2014; Brunstrom
and Rogers 2009; Brunstrom and Shakeshaft 2009). How-
ever, hunger is not the only factor inuencing portion choice
(Herman and Polivy 2014); concerns about health also in-
uence food choices and portion size choices, particularly for
chronic dieters (Glanz et al. 1998; Van Strien et al. 1986) or
when prompting people to think about their health and weight
(Giuliani, Calcott, and Berkman 2013). For example, pro-
viding calorie and nutrition information can reduce the calorie
count of food ordered in fast-food restaurantsthough it is
unclear whether this reduction comes from choosing smaller
portions or choosing different types of food (Bollinger, Leslie,
and Sorensen 2011; Harnack and French 2008).
Research has found that the expectation of sensory pleasure
inuences what food people choose to eat (e.g., Raghunathan,
Naylor, and Hoyer 2006), but its effect on portion size choice
(when different sizes of the same food are available) is less well
understood. Although most food advertisements, especially
those for fast-food restaurants, suggest that consuming more
food will bring more pleasure (Harris et al. 2010), research
on the physiology of eating suggests the exact opposite:
Sensory pleasure peaks at the rst few mouthfuls and de-
clines with each additional mouthful. This phenomenon, called
sensory-specic satiation,is clearly distinct from hunger
satiation and is experienced by adults and infants alike (Mennella
and Beauchamp 1999; Rolls et al. 1981), particularly for he-
donic foods (Redden and Haws 2013; Sorensen et al. 2003).
Sensory-specic satiation does not simply mean that sub-
sequent bites are enjoyed less than the rst one (i.e., marginally
diminishing pleasure); it also means that smaller portions can
actually be more enjoyable than larger ones. This is because the
overall retrospective enjoyment of a food is not an accumu-
lation of pleasure from each bite but rather the average pleasure
over all bites (Rode, Rozin, and Durlach 2007; Tully and
Meyvis 2016; Van Kleef, Shimizu, and Wansink 2013) or
even perhaps only the pleasure experienced from the last bite
(Garbinsky, Morewedge, and Shiv 2014). Regardless of
whether it is inuenced by the last or the average bite, the
retrospective overall eating enjoyment is lower after larger
than smaller food portions.
848 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
A wealth of research has explored how to prevent pleasure
satiation, for example, by managing interruptions (Galak,
Kruger, and Loewenstein 2013; Galak, Redden, and Kruger
2009; Quoidbach and Dunn 2013; Redden 2008), while
somewhat less research has investigated how sensory-specic
satiation can help maximize enjoyment by consuming less.
Studies on mindful eating have shown that training people
to pay more attention to their emotions and sensations while
eating can reduce impulsive eating (Kristeller and Wolever
2010; Poothullil 2002), but they have overlooked the effect
of mindfulness on expected eating enjoyment and preintake
portion size preferences. Yet studying portion size choices is
important because when chosen, people tend to eat the whole
portion even when they are no longer hungry (for a review, see
Zlatevska, Dubelaar, and Holden 2014). Moreover, mindful
eating training can take up to 45 minutes and may require too
much concentration to be applied to the 200 food decisions that
consumers typically make every day (Wansink and Chandon
2014).
In summary, extant research suggests that hunger leads
people to prefer larger portions, whereas a health focus or
dieting tendencies prompt them to choose smaller portions
but expect less eating enjoyment. Focusing on sensory plea-
sure should, we predict, lead people to prefer smaller portions
(because they provide the most pleasurable sensory experi-
ence), but the association between sensory pleasure expecta-
tions and choice of portion size is not well understood. In the
following subsection, we describe a short intervention that
applies mindful eating techniques to simulated (vs. actual)
consumption and explain how it increases the preference for
smaller portions.
Hypotheses: Portion Size Choice
We design a new intervention, multisensory imagery,
which involves encouraging consumers to vividly imagine
the multisensory pleasures (taste, smell, and texture) that
they would experience from eating familiar hedonic foods.
This deliberate form of imagery (Krishna and Schwarz 2014) is
designed to mentally simulate the multisensory hedonic ex-
perience of eating indulgent food, be it in a restaurant or school
setting (e.g., through imagery-rich descriptions on the menu).
Our intervention is based on mental imagery because imag-
ined attributes can be more immediately used as the criteria
of choice and evaluation (Holbrook and Hirschman 1982;
McGill and Anand 1989). By focusing on sensory pleasure,
multisensory imagery should therefore increase the relative
importance of sensory pleasure over other criteria, such as
hunger or dieting, in driving portion choice. Furthermore,
evidence shows that simulating eating through mental imagery
emulates the mental processes (emotions, cognition, and sen-
sations) engaged in actual eating (Barsalou 2008; Elder
and Krishna 2012; Krishna and Schwarz 2014; Morewedge,
Huh, and Vosgerau 2010). By emulating these mental pro-
cesses, mental imagery helps people reconstruct past experi-
ences as well as more vividly and accurately anticipate future
experiences (Hoefer 2003; Moulton and Kosslyn 2009).
Therefore, multisensory imagery should help them antici-
pate greater sensory pleasure from smaller portions.
Our suggested mechanism is that multisensory imagery
will increase the relative importance of sensory pleasure
when choosing portion sizes and reduce the relative im-
portance of otherwise more salient criteria such as hunger
or dieting constraints for dieters. By default (i.e., in the
control condition), people choose large food portions when
they are hungry and not on a diet and smaller portions when
they are sated or on a diet. Thus, because focusing on sensory
pleasure enhances the appeal of smaller portions, sensory im-
agery should lead hungry and nondieting people to choose
smaller portions than in the control condition when they nor-
mally focus on satiating their hunger. However, sensory imagery
should not lead consumers to reduce portion size when they are
sated or dieting and therefore already choose small portions in
the control condition. Formally:
H
1a
: Compared with a control condition, multisensory imagery
leads hungry people (but not sated people) to choose smaller
food portions.
H
1b
: Compared with a control condition, multisensory imagery
leads normal eaters (but not dieters) to choose smaller food
portions.
Hypotheses: Expected Enjoyment of Eating Small Versus
Large Portions
Another important aspect of our proposed mechanism is
that multisensory imagery modies the expected enjoyment
of eating different portion sizes. In general, expectations of
hunger relief lead hungry people to expect greater eating
enjoyment from larger portions (Cabanac 1971, 1985). How-
ever, sensory pleasure, which actually peaks with smaller
portions, can also inuence the expected eating enjoyment.
Thus, focusing on sensory pleasure (through multisensory
imagery) should make people evaluate the enjoyment antici-
pated from eating different portions from a sensory pleasure
standpoint rather than from a hunger relief standpoint and
therefore anticipate greater enjoyment from smaller portions.
This implies that multisensory imagery should make hungry
people expect at least as much enjoyment from (and be willing
to pay at least the same price for) a smaller portion they choose
as the larger portion chosen in the control condition.
These are important predictions because they rule out the
alternative explanation that multisensory imagery mentally
satiates people by simulating consumption (Larson, Redden,
and Elder 2014; Morewedge, Huh, and Vosgerau 2010).
Research on simulated satiation shows that asking people to
imagine eating one M&M candy 30 times in a row or to evaluate
the expected taste of 60 snacks in a row makes them eat less
in a subsequent taste test. Whereas both interventions rely on
some kind of simulated eating, our intervention involves imag-
ining the multisensory pleasure of only three hedonic foods,
something that people typically do in two to ve minutes. In
addition, although we posit that both multisensory imagery and
simulated satiation will make hungry people choose smaller
portions, simulated satiation should also reduce the expected
eating enjoyment for any food portion. In contrast, we expect
that sensory imagery will actually increase the expected en-
joyment of eating small food portions. Formally:
H
2a
: Multisensory imagery increases the expected enjoyment of
small portions, compared with a control condition and compared
with a simulated satiation condition.
H
2b
: Multisensory imagery makes hungry nondieters expect at
least as much enjoyment from and be willing to pay at least
the same price for their smaller chosen portions as the larger
portions chosen in a control condition.
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 849
Hypotheses: Calibration of Expected and Actual Enjoyment
Finally, although both sensory pleasure expectations and
hunger can inuence expected enjoyment, the satisfaction
of hunger has a limited impact on actual enjoyment (Van
Kleef, Shimizu, and Wansink 2013), which is mostly driven
by the sensory qualities of food and by sensory-specic
satiation. This explains why actual enjoyment decreases
with food quantity. Therefore, because multisensory imagery
increases reliance on sensory pleasure (rather than hunger),
multisensory imagery should also improve the calibration
between the expected and actual enjoyment of food portions.
Consequently, multisensory imagery should also increase the
likelihood that people choose a portion that they will actually
enjoy more (i.e., a smaller portion).
H
3
: Multisensory imagery improves the calibration of expected
and actual enjoyment of food portion sizes.
Study Overview
We tested these predictions in ve experimental studies
involving diverse populations: French and U.S. populations,
adults, young adults, and children. In all studies, the main
task was to choose among different portion sizes of a chocolate
cake (and an indulgent drink in Study 1). All portions were
presented simultaneously and were visibly cut from the same
cake, ruling out any inferences that smaller portions might be
of higher quality. Study 1, run in a school, demonstrated the
basic effect on portion size choice among hungry French
children. Study 2 replicated the effect with U.S. adult con-
sumers and compared the effect of multisensory imagery and
simulated satiation. Study 3 tested the underlying mechanism
that multisensory imagery modies the relative inuence
of sensory pleasure and hunger satiation expectations on
portion choice. In Study 4, we compared the effects of
sensory imagery and health imagery (vs. a control condition)
on portion choice, expected (preconsumption) eating enjoy-
ment, and actual (postconsumption) enjoyment among dieting
and nondieting French women. In Study 5, we manipulated
sensory and health imagery with simple menu descriptions
and examined their effects on the portion size preferences of
U.S. adults.
STUDY 1: EFFECTS OF SENSORY IMAGERY ON
THE PORTION SIZE CHOICES OF HUNGRY
FIVE-YEAR-OLDS
Study 1 tested whether multisensory imagery would
make hungry children choose smaller portions of a brownie
and smaller glasses of a soft drink, using both hypothetical
and actual choices. We conducted this study among young
children from a middle-class French public school to rule
out two alternative explanations: (1) that small portions are
associated with higher sensory quality because they are
oftenservedinhigh-endrestaurants and (2) that sensory
imagery primes dieting goals (Trope and Fishbach 2000).
Children of this age and background are unlikely to have
experienced high-end restaurants or to have dieting goals.
In contrast, even infants experience sensory-specicsa-
tiation (Mennella and Beauchamp 1999). This age group
also enabled us to test our intervention at a time when
children begin forming their own perceptions of food
(Rozin 1990).
Method
Forty-two children (52% female) aged four and ve years
from two preschool classes inFranceparticipatedinthe
study (with the authorization of their parents and the school
board). None of the children suffered from an eating dis-
order or obesity. The study took place between 10:00 A.M.
and 11:15 A.M. over two days, to ensure that none of the
children were sated during the study and to ensure minimal
variance in hunger. Children were randomly assigned to a
food or nonfood (control) sensory imagery condition and
participated in the experiment in groups of four.
In the food sensory imagery condition, children saw photos
of three hedonic foods (chocolate cereal, chocolate wafe,
and chocolate candies). The children were reminded about
the ve senses (covered in class during the school year) and,
on seeing each picture, were asked to cover their eyes with
their hands and to imagine the multisensory consequences of
eating each food (e.g., the sound made by the cereals when
eaten, the sensation when chocolate melts in the mouth, the
smell of the wafe). The children in the control condition went
through a nonfood imagery procedure and saw three photos of
children at the beach, playing with dead leaves, and makinga
snowman. They, too, were reminded about the ve senses
and, after covering their eyes, were asked to imagine the mul-
tisensory consequences of the nonfood experiences (e.g., the
sound of walking on dead leaves, the taste of a snowake on the
tongue, the warmth of the sun on their skin). In both conditions,
the intervention lasted approximately ve minutes.
We rst measured hypothetical portion size choices for
a projected self (Gripshover and Markman 2013). The children
were given drawings of a little girl or a little boy,were told that
the drawing represented them, and were asked to write their
name on the poster. They were then asked to choose one of
ve stickers representing portions of cake of different sizes
and one of ve stickers representing glasses of a soft drink
and to place them in each hand of their self-character (for
examples of the drawings with stickers, see Figure 1).
We then measured actual portion size choices. The children
were taken one by one into a separate room with a table
displaying six portions of a chocolate brownie and ve
glasses of a soft drink, in increasing order of size, as shown in
Figure 1. Following discussions with parents, we had selected
the Brossard brand of packaged brownie cake and the Oasis
brand of soft drink because they were both familiar and ap-
pealing to children. Portions of the brownie ranged from .5 oz.
(60 calories, as much as in one Oreo cookie) to 3.2 oz.
(410 calories, as much as a Starbucks regular brownie).
Glasses of soft drink ranged from 10 cl (40 calories) to 80 cl
(350 calories). The children were told that they could choose
one portion of cake and one glass for their afternoon snack
and were asked to point at their preferred portions. The
children were then asked whether they thought that the
chocolate cake and the juice were not good,”“pretty good,
or very good.In the afternoon (after the experiment), the
children were told the purpose of the experiment by the school
teachers and, for ethical reasons, received the same age-
appropriate portions instead of their chosen portions.
Results and Discussion
We analyzed childrens choices with four ordered logit
regressions, with portion size as the dependent variable and
850 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
Figure 1
STIMULI FOR STUDY 1 (TOP) AND STUDIES 2 AND 3 (BOTTOM)
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 851
imagery condition and gender as independent variables.1
No participant was excluded from analysis. The results were
identical when using a linear regression (which assumes
equal spacing between portion sizes) and when pooling the
four estimates into a single random-effect hierarchical re-
gression accounting for the panel structure of the data.
The results revealed that the children chose smaller
portions in the food sensory imagery condition than in the
control condition across all four replications: cake stickers
(M = 3.21, SD = 1.45 vs. M = 4.09, SD = 1.31; b=1.50,
z=2.34, p= .02), drink stickers (M = 3.58, SD = 1.42 vs.
M = 4.35, SD = 1.15; b=1.36, z = 2.10, p= .04), real
cake (M = 3.16, SD = 1.77 vs. M = 5.23, SD = 1.26;
b=2.48, z = 3.56, p<.001), and real drink (M = 3.16,
SD = 1.50 vs. M = 4.36, SD = 1.00; b=1.80, z = 2.81,
p= .005). The random-effect regression further found that
sensory imagery was equally effective for the hypothetical
and real choices ( p= .24) and for the foods and bever-
age (p>.50). Finally, almost all the children expected the
chocolate cake and the drink to taste very goodwhether in
the food or nonfood sensory imagery condition (cake: 95%
vs. 81%; c
2
(1) = .70, p= .40; drink: 100% vs. 90%; c
2
(1) =
.42, p=.50).
Overall, Study 1 found that a brief intervention by school
teachers had sizable effects on childrens choice of food por-
tions, without requiring adults to restrict childrens options.
Food sensory imagery led hungry children to choose smaller
portions of a hedonic food and drink (H
1a
). The effect held
whether the target food shared common sensory characteristics
with the imagined food (chocolate cake) or not (soft drink) and
whether the choice was hypothetical or not. The effects were
as strong for the last choice as for the rst choice and showed
no evidence of compensation from the rst choice to the
subsequent ones.
Because children in both experimental conditions engaged
in forming a mental image of pleasurable activities, the results
of Study 1 cannot be attributed to differences in mood, mental
resources, or an affective mindset (Hsee and Rottenstreich
2004). In Study 2, weaimed to replicate the experiment among
adults and to collect additional evidence about subsequent food
compensation. Study 2 also enabled us to test our hypothesis
that multisensory imagery reduces the inuence of hunger on
portion choice, leading hungry (but not sated) adults to
choose smaller portions, and to rule out the alternative
explanation of simulated satiation (Morewedge, Huh, and
Vosgerau 2010) by analyzing the effect of multisensory
imagery on expected enjoyment.
STUDY 2: EFFECTS OF SENSORY IMAGERY,
SIMULATED SATIATION, AND HUNGER ON ADULTS
PORTION SIZE CHOICES AND
EXPECTED ENJOYMENT
Method
We assigned 200 U.S. online panelists (Amazon Mechan-
ical Turk [MTurk]; mean age = 34 years; 62% female) to
one of three between-subjects conditions: sensory imagery,
simulated satiation, and control. We rst asked participants
how hungry they felt (1 = not hungry at all,and9=ex-
tremely hungry) and when they had last eaten. In the sensory
imagery condition, we showed participants three pictures of
hedonic desserts (a strawberry pie, vanilla ice cream, and
chocolate mousse) and asked them to imagine as vividly as
possible each desserts taste, smell, and texture in the mouth.
We used a different control condition from that in Study 1:
instead of engaging in nonfood mental imagery, participants
saw the same three pictures of hedonic desserts as in the
sensory imagery condition but were merely asked to look
at them (Papies et al. 2014). The simulated satiation con-
dition was a close replication of the intervention developed
by Morewedge, Huh, and Vosgerau (2010). Participants
saw a picture of a bite-size piece of chocolate cake and then
imagined eating it; this task was repeated 30 times.
In a second task, we asked participants to choose a portion
size of chocolate cake. To give the impression that all the
portions were cut from the same cake, we selected (after
pretesting) a slice of delicious-looking chocolate cake
and created ve other portion sizes with Photoshop (see
Figure 1). We showed the six portions in increasing order
of size and asked participants to choose the portion they
wanted to eat. On the next page, we showed the photo of
the chosen portion and asked participants to estimate how
much they expected to enjoy eating it, ranging from 1 (I
would not enjoy eating it at all)to9(I would enjoy
eating it a lot).
We then asked participants to imagine that they had eaten
their chosen portion, that four hours had passed, and that
they had the option to eat vanilla ice cream. We asked them
how many scoopsfrom zero to tenthey would eat (they
saw a photo of a scoop of vanilla ice cream). At the end of
the study, we asked about participantsheight and weight to
compute their body mass index (BMI).
Results and Discussion
We used two attention checks in all studies: Participants
wereaskedhowoftentheylistentoclassicalmusic(toward
the beginning of the questionnaire) and to choose a specic
number of cake slices (toward the end of the questionnaire).
Each time, the participants were instructed to show that they
had carefully read the question by selecting a specican-
swer. In Study 2, we excluded 14 participants who failed
these tests from further analysis. We also excluded 5 par-
ticipants who reported that they had not eaten for a full
day before the study because such prolonged fasting is
symptomatic of eating disorders (Fairburn 2008; Hilbert,
De Zwaan, and Braehler 2012; Lavender, De Young, and
Anderson 2010). We applied this exclusion criterion to
all studies.2The mean hunger score was 3.49 (on a nine-
point scale) with a large standard deviation (2.05). We
used spotlight analyses (Irwin and McClelland 2001) to
detect the effects of our manipulations in sated (one standard
deviation below the mean hunger score, M = 1.44 on the
nine-point hunger scale) and hungry (one standard deviation
above, M = 5.64) participants.
1We controlled for gender (and body mass index [BMI] when available) in
all the studies because they typically inuence food decisions. To facilitate
reading comprehension, we report their effects in only the few cases when
they moderated the effect of sensory imagery. We computed all test statistics
after accounting for the covariates.
2In Study 2, H
1a
,H
2a
, and H
2b
were supported even when we kept the
participants who had fasted for a full day. H
2a
and H
2b
, but not H
1a
, were also
supported even when we kept the participants who had failed the attention
check.
852 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
Portion size choice. We analyzed portion size choice with
an ordered logit model. We used contrast-coded independent
variables that capture the effect of multisensory imagery (vs.
control) and of simulated satiation (vs. control), gender, and
continuous variables for hunger and BMI. We report the results
in Figure 2.
There was no signicant main effect of multisensory im-
agery (vs. control) on portion choice (z = 1.32, p=.19)buta
positive main effect of hunger (z = 2.21, p=.03)and,
more important, a signicant interaction between hunger
and multisensory imagery (z = 2.05, p= .04). Hunger
was a signicant predictor of choice in the control con-
dition (z = 2.98, p= .003) but not in the sensory imagery
condition (z = 1.52, p= .13). As we predicted, sensory
imagery (vs. control) made hungry participants choose
smaller portions (M = 3.54, SD = 1.45 vs. M = 4.70, SD =
1.44; b=1.56, z = 2.26, p= .02) but had no signicant
effect on sated participants (M = 3.51, SD = 1.45 vs. M =
3.12, SD = 1.44; b=.49,z=.85,p= .40).
There was a main effect of simulated satiation (vs. control)
on portion choice (z = 2.53, p= .01), qualied by an in-
teraction with hunger (z = 2.24, p= .03). As Figure 2 shows,
simulated satiation, just like sensory imagery, made hungry
participants choose smaller portions than in the control con-
dition (M = 3.37, SD = 1.75 vs. M = 4.70, SD = 1.44;
b=1.82, z = 3.15, p= .002) but had no effect on sated
participants (M = 3.09, SD = 1.75 vs. M = 3.12, SD = 1.44;
b=.09, z = .17, p=.86).
Expected enjoyment of the chosen portion. We regressed
expected enjoyment of the chosen portion on the same
independent variables as in the choice analysis. Hunger
increased expected enjoyment (t(179) = 2.50, p= .01) but
did not signicantly interact with our manipulations (ps>
.60). Sensory imagery did not signicantly affect expected
enjoyment compared with the control condition (M = 7.81,
SD = 1.47 vs. M = 7.43, SD = 1.83; b= .38, t(179) = .92, p=
.4). Thus, as we predicted and show in Figure 2, sensory
imagery made hungry participants expect at least as much
eating enjoyment from their smaller chosen portion as from
the larger portion chosen in the control condition (M = 8.27,
SD = 1.47 vs. M = 7.97, SD = 1.83; b= .30, t(179) = .53, p=
.6). In contrast, simulated satiation signicantly decreased
expected enjoyment compared with the control condition
(M = 6.67, SD = 2.77 vs. M = 7.43, SD = 1.83; b=.76,
t(179) = 2.05, p= .04). Additional analyses showed that
simulated satiation also sharply decreased expectedenjoyment
compared with sensory imagery (b=1.14, t(179) = 2.74,
p= .007).
Compensatory choice. On average, participants chose
2.78 (SD = 1.39) scoops of ice cream. We regressed the
number of scoops on the same independent variables as in
the previous analyses. We found only a marginally sig-
nicant main effect of hunger (z = 1.83, p= .07) but no
effect of sensory imagery or simulation satiation (vs. con-
trol) and no interaction with hunger ( ps>.20). In other
words, consistent with Study 1, we found no evidence that
people who had chosen a smaller portion of chocolate cake
because of multisensory imagery (or simulated satiation)
would compensate for this rst hypothetical choice by
choosing a larger portion of ice cream in a second hypo-
thetical choice.
Discussion. Overall, both sensory imagery and simulated
satiation reduced the inuence of hunger on portion choice
and made hungry participants (but not sated participants)
choose smaller portions than participants in the control
condition (H
1a
). However, sensory imagery and simulated
satiation yielded different results regarding expected en-
joyment. Consistent with the work of Morewedge, Huh,
and Vosgerau (2010), simulated satiation sharply decreased
expected enjoyment compared with the other two condi-
tions (H
2a
). In contrast, sensory imagery made participants
expect at least as much enjoyment, even from the smaller
portion they had chosen when hungry, as the larger portions
chosen in the control condition (H
2b
). These results suggest
that the effect of sensory imagery on portion choice could
not be attributed to feelings of satiation, which by denition
are associated with decreased eating enjoyment expectations.
STUDY 3: EFFECTS OF SENSORY IMAGERY AND
EXPECTATIONS OF SENSORY PLEASURE AND
HUNGER SATIATION ON PORTION CHOICE
AND WILLINGNESS TO PAY
The primary goal of Study 3 was to test the proposed
mechanism that sensory imagery increases the inuence of
sensory pleasure expectations over hunger satiation ex-
pectations in portion size choice. To achieve this goal, we
measured expectations of sensory pleasure and hunger satia-
tion for each portion size one week before the intervention and
examined the explanatory power of these ratings in driving the
portion size choices of participants in the sensory imagery
versus the control condition one week later. Study 3 also
enabled us to examine the effects of sensory imagery on the
willingness to pay for the chosen portion.
Method
For the rst phase of the study, we recruited 100 par-
ticipants on MTurk (60% female, mean age = 34 years) and
showed them six portion sizes of chocolate cake in in-
creasing order (the same as in Study 2). We asked them
to rate how much they agreed that each portion was just
rightin terms of hunger satiation (i.e., to choose a higher
rating if the size was just right and a lower rating if it was
too small or too large). For each of the six portions, we
measured expected hunger satiation with three items on a
scale ranging from 1 (not at all)to9(absolutely): This
portion would be just right for me to feel comfortably full
for dessert,”“This portion would be just right for me to be
satiated for dessert,and This portion would be just right
to satisfy my appetite for dessert(Cronbachsa=.92).
In a similar manner, we asked the participants to rate each
portion in terms of sensory pleasure, with three items: This
portion would be just right for me to have a pleasurable
sensory experience,”“This portion would be just right for
me to enjoy the taste of this cake,and This portion would
be just right for me to savor the cake(Cronbachsa=.89).
We counterbalanced the order of the questions across
participants.
One week later, we recontacted all the participants to take
part in the main study; 79 participants replied. These par-
ticipants were not statistically different from those who did
not reply in terms of age, gender, and food ratings ( ps>.5).
We rst asked participants how hungry they felt (1 = not
hungry at all,and 9 = extremely hungry)andwhenthey
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 853
had last eaten. In the sensory imagery condition, we used the
same manipulation as in Study 2. In the control condition,
we used a nonfood sensory imagery intervention (as in Study 1)
by showing participants pictures of three comfortable arm-
chairs and asking them to imagine as vividly as possible how
they would feel if they sat in each chair.
We then showed participants the same six portions of
chocolate cake as in the rst part of the study. We asked
them to choose one portion and to indicate the probability
of choosing each portion, from 1 (highly unlikely)to9
(highly likely). Next, we showed them the photo of the
chosen portion and asked them to state the maximum price
they would be willing to pay for it.
Finally, as a manipulation check, we asked participants
whether they had evaluated portion sizes on the basis of ex-
pected sensory pleasure or expected hunger satiation, using
three bipolar scales (e.g., I was thinking of eating this cake
as a sensory experiencevs. I was wondering whether
theportionwouldmakemecomfortablyfull; Cronbachs
a= .79). We also asked participants whether they were
thinking about their health or weight when evaluating the
portions of chocolate cake. At the end of the study, we asked
about their height and weight to compute their BMI.
Results and Discussion
From the 79 participants who participated in the prestudy
and the main study, we excluded 4 who failed to pass the
attentionchecksand6whohadnoteatenforafullday
before the study.3The mean hunger score in the main study
was 4.01 (on a nine-point scale) with a large standard
deviation (2.40). As in Study 2, we used spotlight analyses
to detect the effects of our manipulations on sated partic-
ipants (one standard deviation below the mean hunger
score, M = 1.61 on the nine-point hunger scale) and hungry
participants (one standard deviation above, M = 6.41).
As a manipulation check, we veried that (compared
with the control condition) sensory imagery led people to
evaluate the portions on the basis of their expected sensory
enjoyment rather than expected hunger satiation (control:
M = 4.89, SD = 2.48; sensory: M = 3.63, SD = 2.29;
b=1.26, t(67) = 2.17, p= .03, on a ten-point scale,
where a lower number indicated evaluation based on sensory
enjoyment and a higher number indicated evaluation based
on hunger satiation). There were no differences between the
control and sensory imagery condition in terms of how much
participants thought about their health and weight when
evaluating the portions (t <1).
Portion choice and willingness to pay. We analyzed
portion size choice with an ordered logit model, with the
imagery condition, hunger, gender, and BMI as independent
variables. There was no main effect of sensory imagery on
portion choice (z = .15, p= .90), a positive main effect of
Figure 2
STUDY 2: EFFECTS OF MULTISENSORY IMAGERY AND SIMULATED SATIATION ON PORTION SIZE CHOICE AND EXPECTED
ENJOYMENT OF CHOSEN PORTION
A: Portion Size Choice B: Expected Enjoyment of the Chosen Portion Size
2
3
4
5
6
123456789
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
5
6
7
8
9
123456789
Expected Enjoyment
Portion Size
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
Multisensory imagery Control Simulated satiation
3In Study 3, H
1a
and H
2b
were supported even when we kept the par-
ticipants who had fasted for a full day and those who failed the attention
checks.
854 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
hunger (z = 2.30, p= .02), and an interaction between sensory
imagery and hunger (z = 2.65, p= .008). As Figure 3 shows,
hunger was a strong predictor of choice in the control condition
(z = 3.91, p<.001) but not in the sensory imagery condition
(z = .03, p>.9). As we predicted, sensory imagery made
hungry participants choose smaller portions than in the control
condition (M = 3.55, SD = .85 vs. M = 4.28, SD = 1.32;
b=1.74, z = 2.16, p= .03). However, sensory imagery
made sated participants choose signicantly larger portions
than in the control condition (M = 3.75, SD = .85 vs. M = 2.91,
SD = 1.32; b= 1.91, z = 2.01, p= .05). The choice probability
data yielded similar results.
A regression of willingness to pay revealed a main effect
of hunger (t(65) = 3.35, p= .001) and a main effect of
sensory imagery (t(65) = 3.26, p= .002), with no interaction
betweenthetwo(t<1, p>.40). On average, sensory
imagery increased willingness to pay for chosen portions
compared with the control condition (M = $4.57, SD = 1.64
vs. M = $3.50, SD = 1.63). As we predicted and show in
Figure 3, sensory imagery made hungry participants willing
to pay directionally more for their smaller chosen portion
than for the larger portions chosen in the control condition
(M = $4.85, SD = 1.64 vs. M = $3.98, SD = 1.63; b= .85,
t(65) = 1.47, p= .14), thus increasing willingness to pay per
quantity unit by 47%.
The role of sensory pleasure and hunger satiation expectations.
As Figure 4 shows, there was an inverted U-shaped rela-
tionship between portion size and both types of expectations.
In addition, participants rated the three smallest portions
morefavorablyintermsofsensorypleasurethanintermsof
hunger satiation (respectively, t(69) = 4.21, p<.001; t(69) =
4.18, p<.001; t(69) = 2.66, p= .01). The reverse occurred
for the larger fourth and fth portions, which participants
rated more favorably in terms of hunger satiation than in terms
of sensory pleasure (respectively, t(69) = 1.97, p=.06;
t(69) = 2.61, p= .01). Participants rated the largest portion
similarly low in both conditions (p= .33). As another test, we
determined for each participant the portion with the highest
rating from either perspective. Across participants, the optimal
portion from a sensory perspective was smaller than the op-
timal portion from a hunger satiation perspective (M = 3.35,
SD = 1.47 vs. M = 3.98, SD = 1.29; b=.61, t(69) = 3.86, p<
.001). Overall, these results show that people expect sensory
pleasure to be greater for smaller portions.
To examine whether sensory pleasure more strongly in-
uences portion size in the multisensory imagery condition,
we regressed the choice probability datafor each portion (from
the main study) on a binary variable measuring the effects of
the intervention (sensory imagery vs. control), hunger (mea-
sured just before the intervention), expected sensory pleasure
and expected hunger satiation (measured in the rst phase),
and all two-way interactions. The regression (which controlled
for the panel structure of the data) showed that both sensory
pleasure expectations (z = 2.58, p= .01) and hunger satiation
expectations (z = 11.9, p<.001) inuenced choice proba-
bilities. Hunger had a negative interaction effect with sensory
Figure 3
STUDY 3: PORTION SIZE CHOICE AND WILLINGNESS TO PAY FOR CHOSEN PORTION
A: Portion Size Choice B: Willingness to Pay for Chosen Portion Size
2
3
4
5
123456789
Portion Size
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
$1
$2
$3
$4
$5
$6
123456789
WTP
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
Multisensory imagery Control
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 855
expectations (z = 2.18, p= .03) and a positive interaction
effect with hunger satiation expectations (z = 2.72, p=.01),
meaning that, on average, hungry people relied less on their
own expectations of sensory pleasure and more on their ex-
pectations of hunger satiation. More importantly, the inter-
action between the multisensory imagery intervention and
sensory pleasure expectations was positive and statistically
signicant (z = 2.25, p= .02), whereas the other effects were
not ( ps>.6). Expected sensory pleasure had a positive impact
on portion size choice in the sensory imagery condition (z =
2.96, p= .003) but a weaker and not statistically signicant
impact in the control condition (z = 1.48, p= .14). This means
that multisensory imagery increased the importance of sensory
pleasure expectations on choice and explains why it made
people choose smaller portions, especially when hungry.
Discussion. Consistent with Study 2, Study 3 showed that
multisensory food imagery reduced the inuence of hunger
on portion choice, made hungry consumers choose smaller
portions (H
1a
), and made them willing to pay at least as much
for these smaller portions as consumers in the control condition
were willing to pay for their larger portions (H
2b
). However,
there was a backlash effect among sated consumers for whom
sensory imagery increased portion size and willingness to pay.
Study 3 also provides support for the suggested underlying
mechanism linking sensory imagery with preference for
smaller portions. First, it measured peoples expectations
and found that the optimal portion was smaller from a
sensory pleasure perspective than from a hunger satiation
perspective. Second, it showed that multisensory imagery
increased the inuence of sensory pleasure expectations
on portion size choice probability. This suggests that asking
people to imagine the multisensory sensations of eating
hedonic foods makes them more likely to rely on their own
expectations of sensory pleasure (rather than on the normally
more important expectations of hunger satiation) when
choosing portion sizes.
Study 3 had some limitations. First, it did not directly
test the effects of multisensoryfoodimageryontheoverall
enjoyment expected from each portion size, and thus it did
not test H
2a
that sensory imagery increases the expected
enjoyment from eating smaller (but not larger) portions.
Second, it did not measure actual (postintake) eating enjoy-
ment. Third, it did not examine the hypothesized moderating
effects of dieting, because there were too few dieters in the
sample. We addressed these limitations in Study 4, in which
we also compared the effectiveness of our intervention with
that of health imagery.
STUDY 4: EFFECTS OF SENSORY AND HEALTH
IMAGERY ON EXPECTED AND ACTUAL EATING
ENJOYMENT FOR ADULT DIETERS AND
NORMAL EATERS
We prescreened the participants in Study 4 to ensure that
all were hungry, but with high heterogeneity in dieting ten-
dencies. As with hunger, we expected that sensory imagery
would reduce the effects of dieting in portion size choice and
would lead normal eaters (but not dieters) to choose smaller
portions of cake than those in a control condition. In addition,
given that smaller portions actually maximize enjoyment, we
expected sensory imagery to reduce the gap between expected
eating enjoyment (measured in a group of forecasters)and
actual eating enjoyment (measured in a group of experi-
encers), improving the calibration of enjoyment expectations.
Study 4 also enabled us to compare sensory imagery with
thestandardhealthappealsrecommendedbyresearchers
and used by governments to encourage people to choose
smaller food portions. We specically tested the effects of
health imagery by asking some participants to imagine the
effects of hedonic foods on their health and weight. We
expected health imagery to also lead people to choose smaller
portions, but out of a concern for health and not because they
anticipated smaller portions to be more enjoy able. Ther efore,
Figure 4
STUDY 3: PREINTERVENTION EVALUATIONS OF PORTIONS BASED ON EXPECTED SENSORY PLEASURE AND HUNGER SATIATION
5.0
5.9
6.5
6.0
4.3
3.5
3.3
4.2
5.8
6.6
4.9
3.7
2
3
4
5
6
7
Portion 1 Portion 2 Portion 3 Portion 4 Portion 5 Portion 6
Ratings (Nine-Point Scale)
“Just right for sensory pleasure”
“Just right for hunger satiation”
856 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
in contrast with sensory imagery, health imagery should
lead people to choose a smaller portion than the portion
they expect to be the most enjoyable to eat.
Method
We recruited 367 young French women (mean age = 22
years) in exchange for V8. We chose this group because, in
general, they are more receptive than men to health appeals
and more likely to diet (Rolls, Fedoroff, and Guthrie 1991),
enabling us to better test our hypotheses. We were careful to
recruit only hungry participants: We asked them to refrain
from eating for at least one hour before the study. During
the prestudy screening, participants who said that they were
not hungry were not included (but were compensated for
showing up). The study took place between 10.30 A.M. and
12:00 P.M. or between 3:00 P.M. and 6:30 P.M. (the time of
day had no signicance on the results). We used a 3 (food
sensory imagery, health imagery, and control) × 4 (forecasters,
experiencers of small portions, experiencers of medium portions,
and experiencers of large portions) between-subjects design.
In the center of the room where participants took the
tests, we displayed ve portions of the same brownie as in
Study 1, in increasing order of size. The ve portions
contained 70, 140, 210, 280, and 350 calories, respectively,
but no calorie information was made available. After looking
at the portions, participants sat in front of a computer and re-
ported their hunger (1 = not hungry at all,and9=extremely
hungry) and when they had last eaten.
The sensory imagery manipulation was the same as in Studies
2 and 3. In line with Giuliani, Calcott, and Berkmans (2013)
procedure, participants in the health imagery condition looked at
the same three photos of hedonic foods as in the sensory imagery
condition and were asked to imagine the negative impact of
these foods on their health and body. Participants in the control
condition saw pictures of three comfortable ofce chairs and
were asked to imagine sitting in them.
Participants assigned to the forecastercondition were then
asked to choose one of the ve portions of brownies and told
that they would be able to take their chosen portion with them
at the end of the study. We also measured their expected en-
joyment by asking them to rate how enjoyable it would be to eat
each of the ve portions on scales ranging from 1 (notatall)to
10 (very much). Participants assigned to the three experi-
encerconditions were asked to eat entirely the smallest (Portion
1), the medium (Portion 3), or the largest (Portion 5) portion.
Only two experiencers were unable to nish their portion, but
excluding them from the analyses did not affect the results. We
then asked the experiencers to rate how much they had enjoyed
eating the brownie on the same scale the forecasters used. Fi-
nally, we measured dieting tendency with the Dutch Eating
Behavior Questionnaire (Van Strien et al. 1986) and asked about
participantsheight and weight to compute their BMI.
Results and Discussion
We excluded 11 participants because of an error when
cutting the portions on one day, 7 participants who said
that they were so full that they could not eat anything
(despite the prescreen test), and 6 participants who had not
eaten since the day before the study.4The nal sample of
343 participants had an mean dieting score of 2.8 (SD =
.95) on a ve-point scale, with a fairly even distribution
between normal eaters and dieters. The mean hunger rating
was 5.2 on a nine-point scale, with a small standard de-
viation of 1.3, indicating that we succeeded in selecting a
sample of only hungry participants.
Expected enjoyment. Consistent with the results of Study
3, portion size had an inverted U-shaped effect on expected
eating enjoyment (see Figure 5). To test our hypothesis, we
analyzed expected enjoyment separately for small portions
(Portions 1 and 2) and for large portions (Portions 4 and 5).
The independent variables were contrast-coded variables
measuring the effects of food sensory imagery (vs. control)
and health imagery (vs. control), dieting tendencies, hunger,
and BMI.
As we predicted, sensory imagery increased expected
eating enjoyment for the two smaller portions (z = 2.25, p=
.02) but not for the two larger portions (z = .21, p= .80). In
contrast, health imagery had no effect on expected eating
enjoyment regardless of portion size (ps>.6). Hunger did
not inuence the expected enjoyment of smaller portions
(p>.70) but increased the expected enjoyment of larger
portions (z = 4.51, p<.001), even though all participants
were hungry, with little variance in hunger level. Both sensory
imagery and health imagery decreased the inuence of hunger on
expected enjoyment for larger portions (respectively, z = 2.49,
p=.01;z=1.96, p= .05). None of the other effects were
statistically signicant (ps>.40).
Actual enjoyment. As Figure 5 shows, portion size had a
monotonically negative effect on the actual eating enjoy-
men t of the experiencers. We regressed actual eating enjoyment
on portion size (using linear coding), the same two binary
variables capturing the interventions, dieting tendencies, hun-
ger, and BMI. Actual eating enjoyment sharply decreased with
portion size (t(240) = 4.68, p<.001). The only other sig-
nicant effect was hunger, which increased actual eating en-
joyment (t(240) = 5.05, p<.001). None of the other effects
were statistically signicant (ps>.10). In particular, in contrast
with expected eating enjoyment, the sensory and health im-
agery interventions did not affect actual eating enjoyment.
Calibration of expected and actual enjoyment. We now
analyze how well forecasters were able to predict that en-
joyment would decrease with portion size. Recall that we
measured the expected enjoyment of ve portion sizes within
participants assigned to the forecastercondition, whereas we
measured the actual enjoyment of Portions 1, 3, and 5 between
participants assigned to the three experiencerconditions. A
mixed design was necessary to test our hypothesis regarding
the expected enjoyment of small versus large portions across
imagery conditions. Such a design replicates real-life evalu-
ations when consumers rst estimate their expected enjoyment
of different portions and only evaluate the actual enjoyment of
eating the portion they have chosen.
As we showed previously, among experiencers, actual
enjoyment decreased with portion size (i.e., Portion 1 was
the most enjoyed, followed by Portion 3 and then Portion 5)
in all conditions. A good calibration between expected and
actual enjoyment means that forecasters are able to predict
this pattern. Therefore, we analyzed the expected enjoy-
ment of Portion 1 versus Portion 3 versus Portion 5 in each
of the three imagery conditions. In the control condition, we
found a poor calibration between expected and actual eating
4In Study 4, H
2a
and H
3
were supported, but H
1b
became only marginally
signicant when we kept the participants who had fasted for a full day.
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 857
enjoyment with respect to portion size. As Figure 5 shows,
participants erroneously expected Portion 3 to be more
enjoyable than Portion 1 (M = 6.78, SD = 2.61 vs. M = 5.59,
SD = 2.72; b= 1.20, z = 1.93, p=.05)andfailedtopredict
that Portion 5 would be signicantly less enjoyable than
Portion 1 (M = 4.65, SD = 2.56; b=.93, z = 1.50, p=
.13). Sensory imagery was able to reduce the gap between
actual and expected eating enjoyment. Participants in the
sensory imagery condition expected to be indifferent be-
tween Portions 1 and 3 (M = 6.11, SD = 2.25 vs. M = 6.45,
SD = 2.42; b=.35,z=.53,p= .6) and correctly expected
to prefer Portion 1 to Portion 5 (M = 4.42, SD = 2.80;
b=1.69, z = 2.56, p= .003). In the health imagery
condition, participants expected to be indifferent between
Portions 1 and 3 (M = 5.29, SD = 3.02 vs. M = 5.83, SD =
2.59; b=.63,z=.90,p= .5) and failed to predict that
Portion 1 would be more enjoyable than Portion 5 (M =
4.13, SD = 2.90; b=1.09, z = 1.57, p=.12).
Portion size choice. We analyzed portion size choice
with an ordinal logit model with the same independent
variables as for enjoyment expectations. The results, plotted
in Figure 6, showed no signicant effect of sensory imagery
(p>.60) and dieting tendencies (z = 1.09, p= .27) but a
signicant interaction between them (z = 2.85, p= .004).
Dieting tendencies predicted portion choice in the control
condition (z = 2.30, p= .02) but not in the sensory imagery
condition (z = .05, p= .60). A spotlight analysis revealed that
sensory imagery led normal eaters (one standard deviation
below the mean dieting score) to choose smaller portions than
those in the control condition (M = 2.17, SD = .89 vs. M =
2.85, SD = 1.04; b=1.81, z = 2.23, p= .02), as we pre-
dicted. Sensory imagery slightly backred among dieters (one
standard deviation above the mean), leading them to choose
marginally larger portions than those in the control condition
(M = 2.48, SD = .89 vs. M = 1.92, SD = 1.04; b=1.36,z=
1.77, p=.08).
Despite having no effect on enjoyment, health imagery
(vs. control) made all participants choose smaller portions
(M = 1.90, SD = .87 vs. M = 2.40, SD = 1.04; b=1.34,
z=2.27, p= .02), and the effect was marginally stronger
among nondieters (interaction with dieting: z = 1.72, p=
.09). Hunger made participants choose larger portions (z =
3.71, p<.001) but did not interact with any of the two
interventions (ps>.19), probably because all participants
were at least moderately hungry.
Is portion choice based on expected enjoyment? We next
test our hypothesis that sensory imagery makes normal eaters
choose a smaller portion because they expect it to maximize
enjoyment, whereas health imagery makes participants choose
smaller portions despite expecting them to be less enjoyable
(i.e., a trade-off between health and expected enjoyment).
We used McFaddens conditional logit model, with a binary
variable indicating whether the portion had been chosen as
the dependent variable. The independent variables were the
expected enjoyment for each portion, contrast-coded vari-
ables capturing the effects of sensory imagery versus control
and sensory imagery versus health imagery, and continuous
measures of dieting, hunger, and BMI.
Overall, expected enjoyment was strongly predictive of
choice (z = 6.41, p<.001). Still, there were signicant three-
way interactions among expected enjoyment, dieting, and
sensory imagery versus the control (z = 2.30, p=.02)and
among expected enjoyment, dieting, and sensory versus
health imagery (z = 2.87, p= .004). Among normal eaters,
expected enjoyment predicted portion size choice better in
the sensory imagery condition (odds ratio = 8.19) than in the
control condition (odds ratio = 1.59) or the health imagery
condition (odds ratio = .54). In the sensory imagery con-
dition,theportionchosenbynormaleaters(M=2.17,SD=
.89) was almost exactly the same as the portion that they
expected to enjoy the most (M = 2.21, SD = 1.15, computed
as the portion size with the highest expected enjoyment, av-
eraged across participants). In the control condition, normal
eaters chose a slightly smaller portion than the one predicted to
be most enjoyable (chosen portion: M = 2.85, SD = 1.04;
portion with the highest expected enjoyment: M = 3.12, SD =
1.19). The gap was even larger in the health imagery condition,
in which participants chose a much smaller portion (M = 1.88,
SD = .87) than the one expected to maximize enjoyment (M =
2.61, SD = 1.21). Among dieters, there were no differences
across imagery conditions.
Discussion. In Study 4, all participants were hungry, but
there was a large degree of heterogeneity in dieting tendencies.
We found that sensory imagery reduced the effect of dieting
on portion size but still made normal eaters choose smaller
portions than those in the control (H
1b
). Sensory imagery made
strong dieters choose marginally larger portions (vs. control),
suggesting that it made participants choose on the basis of
sensory pleasure rather than concerns about body weight.
Similar to sensory imagery, health imagery made normal
eaters choose smaller portions than those in the control
Figure 5
STUDY 4: EFFECTS OF SENSORY IMAGERY AND HEALTH
IMAGERY ON EXPECTED AND ACTUAL EATING ENJOYMENT
3
4
5
6
7
8
Portion 1 Portion 2 Portion 3 Portion 4 Portion 5
Eating Enjoyment (Ten-Point Scale)
Actual enjoyment (all conditions)
Expected enjoyment (sensory imagery condition)
Expected enjoyment (control condition)
Expected enjoyment (health imagery condition)
858 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
condition, but for different reasons. Indeed, sensory imagery
increased the expected enjoyment of smaller (but not larger)
portions (H
2a
), making participants more likely to choose the
(small) portion expected to maximize enjoyment. In contrast,
health imagery did not modify enjoyment expectations and
made participants choose a smaller portion than the one they
expected to enjoy mostimplying a hedonic cost because
people traded off enjoyment against health.
Finally, Study 4 showed that sensory imagery improved
participantsability to predict that enjoyment actually de-
creasedwithportionsize.Inother words, it improved the
calibration between expected and actual eating enjoyment
(H
3
), and it also increased the chance that a smaller, actually
more enjoyable, portion would be chosen. Note, however,
that though the decrease in actual enjoyment of portion size
is consistent with prior research on sensory satiation (Rolls
et al. 1981), an alternative explanation may be that expe-
riencers assigned to eating the largest portion felt compelled
to eat this large quantity of cake and thus felt resentful.
In Study 5, we examine the applicability of our results for
restaurants and school or workplace cafeterias by testing
whether simple menu descriptions can create multisensory
imagery (Elder and Krishna 2010; Tuorila et al. 1994). We
also compare the effectiveness of multisensory labeling
with that of nutrition labeling, a much debated intervention
intended to nudge people to choose smaller food portions
(Howlett et al. 2009).
STUDY 5: SENSORY MENU DESCRIPTIONS AND
PORTION CHOICE
Method
We assigned 190 U.S. online panelists (MTurk; mean age =
37 years; 60% female) to one of three between-subjects
conditions: multisensory labeling, nutrition labeling, and con-
trol (no label). We rst asked participants how hungry they felt
and when they had last eaten. All participants saw the same
six photos of chocolate cake slices as in Studies 2 and 3 (see
Figure 1). In the control condition, the cake was simply de-
scribed as a chocolate cake.In the nutrition labeling con-
dition, we added information about the calorie and fat content
of each portion, which ranged from 80 calories and 3g of fat
to 570 calories and 23g of fat. In the multisensory labeling
condition, we added the following description: The chocolate
has a smell of roasted coffee, a bitter-sweet balance taste, with
natural aromas of honey and vanilla, and a light aftertaste of
blackberry.We then asked participants which portion of cake
they wanted to eat. On the next page, we showed them the
photo of the chosen portion size and asked them the maximum
price they would be willing to pay for it. We nally asked
about their height and weight to compute their BMI.
Results and Discussion
We excluded 13 participants who failed to pass the at-
tention checks and 11 participants who reported not having
eaten since the day before the study, which yielded 166
valid participants.5The mean hunger score was 3.69 (on a
nine-point scale), with a standard deviation of 2.10. As in
Studies 2 and 3, we considered participants satedat one
standard deviation below the mean hunger score (M = 1.59)
and hungryat one standard deviation above (M = 5.79).
We rst analyzed the impact of product information and
hunger on portion choice with an ordered logit model. The
independent variables were contrast-coded variables cap-
turing the effects of multisensory information (vs. control)
and nutrition information (vs. control), hunger, gender, and
BMI. We report the results in Figure 7.
There was no signicant main effect of multisensory
information (vs. control) on portion choice (z = .43, p=
.70) but a positive main effect of hunger (z = 2.71, p= .007)
and, more importantly, a signicant interaction between
the two variables (z = 3.05, p= .002). Hunger was a sig-
nicant predictor of choice in the control condition (z =
3.86, p<.001) but not in the multisensory information
condition (z = .30, p= .80). As we predicted, multisensory
menu description made hungry participants choose smaller
portions (M = 3.64, SD = 1.61 vs. M = 4.75, SD = 1.42;
b=1.45, z = 2.58, p= .01) but made sated participants
choose marginally larger portions (M = 3.53 SD = 1.61 vs.
M = 2.66, SD = 1.42; b= 1.11, z = 1.92, p= .054). Health
information made all participants choose smaller portions
(M=2.91,SD=1.47vs.M=3.71,SD=1.42;b=.96,
z=2.39, p= .02), especially when participants were
hungry (interaction effect: z = 3.21, p= .001). Unlike in all
the other studies, multisensory information interacted with
BMI (z = 1.95, p= .05) and had a stronger effect on low-
BMI participants.
Regression analyses of willingness to pay with the same
independent variables revealed a strong main effect of
Figure 6
STUDY 4: EFFECTS OF SENSORY AND HEALTH IMAGERY ON
PORTION SIZES CHOSEN BY DIETERS AND NORMAL EATERS
1
1.5
2
2.5
3
3.5
4
54321
Portion Size Choice
Dieting Score (Reversed)
Normal Eaters
Control Multisensory imagery Health imagery
Dieters
5In Study 5, H
1a
and H
2b
were supported even when we kept the par-
ticipants who failed the attention checks. H
2b
, but not H
1a
, was also supported
even when we kept the participants who had fasted for a full day. In
addition, a meta-analysis of the ve studies shows that the effects of sensory
imagery on portion size choice are statistically signicant even when we kept
the participants who failed the attention checks and those who had fasted for a
full day.
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 859
multisensory information (t(156) = 4.34, p<.001), a marginal
effect of hunger (t(156) = 1.85, p=.07),andamarginal
interaction between the two (t(156) = 1.71, p= .09). As we
predicted, providing rich sensory information (vs. control)
marginally increased how much hungry people were willing
to pay for their chosen portion (M = $4.37, SD = 1.96 vs.
M = $3.24, SD = 1.58; b= .90, t(156) = 1.76, p=.08),
despite having chosen a signicantly smaller portion. Un-
surprisingly, sensory information (vs. control) also increased
how much sated people were willing to pay for their (larger)
chosen portion (M = $4.36, SD = 1.96 vs. M = $2.68, SD =
1.58; b= 2.15, t(156) = 4.31, p<.001). The main effect and
interaction effects of nutrition information (vs. control) on
willingness to pay were not statistically signicant (ps>.30).
However, additional analyses showed that multisensory in-
formation made people willing to pay a higher price than health
information (t(156) = 3.78, p<.001) and that hunger did not
moderate this effect (p>.20).
In Study 5, providing rich and vivid multisensory in-
formation decreased the inuence of hunger, made hungry
(but not sated) consumers choose a smaller portion (H
1a
),
and made them willing to pay an actually higher price for
theirsmallportionthanthelargerportionchoseninthe
control condition (H
2b
). It could be argued that multisensory
information increased the perceived quality of the cake. In the
absence of price information, however, quality perception
should have led people to choose a larger (not smaller) portion
of cake. Finally, although nutrition information led everyone to
choose a smaller portion, they were willing to pay a lower price
than for similarly small portions in the multisensory la-
beling condition. Given that margins are typically smaller
for smaller portion sizes (Dobson and Gerstner 2010), sensory
information achieved the same portion control goals as nu-
trition information, but without negatively affecting the res-
taurantsprotability.
GENERAL DISCUSSION
To counteract the current supersizing of hedonic food por-
tions, research has focused on how people can choose health
over eating enjoyment (e.g., Giuliani, Calcott, and Berkman
2013) or how they can satiate their desire for hedonic foods
(Larson, Redden, and Elder 2014; Morewedge, Huh, and
Vosgerau 2010). Unfortunately these strategies both undermine
eating pleasure and go against the economic interest of food
marketers that extract higher prots from supersized portions.
This study offers suggestive support for an alternative
pleasure-based approach that may prompt hungry nondieters to
choose and actually prefer less food without making a hedonic
trade-off or hurting food manufacturersprotability. Insofar
as this intervention leads to the same effect sizes in more
naturalistic settings than in our studies, this would constitute
a triple win for consumers, marketers, and public health. The
pleasure-based approach to portion control builds on the idea
thatcounterintuitivelylarger portions are not more pleasur-
ablethan smaller ones because sensory enjoyment peaks at
the rst mouthful and declines with each additional one
Figure 7
STUDY 5: EFFECT OF MULTISENSORY INFORMATION AND NUTRITION INFORMATION ON PORTION SIZE CHOICE AND WILLINGNESS
TO PAY FOR CHOSEN PORTION
A: Portion Size Choice B: Willingness to Pay for Chosen Portion Size
1
2
3
4
5
6
Portion Size
123456789
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
$1
$2
$3
$4
$5
WTP
123456789
Hunger
Not Hungry
at All
Extremely
Hungry
Mulitsensory information Control Nutritional information
860 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016
(Garbinsky, Morewedge, and Shiv 2014; Rode, Rozin, and
Durlach 2007; Rolls et al. 1981; Van Kleef, Shimizu, and
Wansink 2013).
Drawing from mental imagery research (Barsalou 1999;
Krishna and Schwarz 2014), we tested a new intervention,
multisensory imagery, which involves prompting people
to vividly imagine the pleasant multisensory features of
hedonic foods, either through direct instructions or simply
by using vivid multisensory product descriptions on menus.
Across ve studies, we found that multisensory imagery made
consumers (as long as they were neither sated nor dieting)
choose smaller portions, regardless of their cultural back-
ground(FrenchinStudies1and4andAmericaninStudies
2, 3, and 5) and age (children in Study 1, young adults in
Study 4, and adults in Studies 2, 3, and 5). Remarkably, we
found that multisensory imagery made people willing to pay
at least as much (Studies 3 and 5) for and expect at least as
much eating enjoyment (Studies 2 and 4) from a portion
smaller than the one they would otherwise choose. Multi-
sensory imagery also reduced the gap between enjoyment
expectations and actual enjoyment and made people choose
the smaller portions that provided the best actual eating
experience (Study 4).
We suggest a possible underlying mechanism in Studies
3 and 4. In Study 3, people recognized that the smaller
portions were better than the larger ones from a pure sensory
pleasure perspective, though larger portions were better for
hunger satiation. Multisensory imagery also increased the
relative inuence of sensory pleasure over hunger satiation
on portion size choice. These results were conrmed in Study 4,
in which multisensory imagery increased the overall enjoyment
expected from eating small portions but not large portions.
Although these ndings are consistent with research sug-
gesting that mental imagery helps people anticipate more
accurately future experiences (Hoefer 2003; Moulton and
Kosslyn 2009), we acknowledge that our studies do not provide
denite evidence of the cognitive or affective processes by
which sensory imagery helps people better anticipate that
smaller portions will be more pleasant.
It is also possible that our ndings are driven by demand
effects. However, two results mitigate this risk. First, Study 1
showed that multisensory imagery was effective with ve-
year-old children who are unlikely to have the sophisti-
cated reasoning required for these kinds of demand responses.
Second, we investigated demand by measuring the lay in-
tuitions about the effect of sensory imagery on portion size
choice among 49 MTurk participants similar to those in
Studies 2 and 3. The scenario involved John and Jim, two
hungry nondieters about to choose a slice of chocolate cake.
The scenario then described the sensory imagery intervention
as follows: Before making their choice, John (but not Jim)
is shown pictures of desserts and asked to imagine vividly
the taste, the smell, and the texture in mouth of these desserts.
The vast majority of participants (67%) erroneously predicted
that John (the character who engaged in sensory imagery)
would choose a larger slice than Jim. This suggests that
demand effects would lead to the opposite results of what
wefoundinStudies15. Thus, although people expect that
focusing on sensory pleasure leads to smaller cake portions
(as we show in Study 3) they do not make the association
between the sensory imagery manipulation and focusing on
sensory pleasure, which contradicts demand effects.
As a benchmark, we examined the effects of alternative
interventions intended to encourage people to choose smaller
portions of hedonic foods: simulated satiation (imagining
eating 30 times the same food; Study 2), health imagery
(imagining the negative impact of hedonic foods on health
and body; Study 4), and nutrition labeling (information about
calories and fat content; Study 5). Although these interventions
also made people choose smaller portions, their choices were
hedonically costly for the consumer, economically costly for
business, or both. Simulated satiation reduced the anticipated
eating enjoyment of any portion of food. Health appeals led
people to sacrice pleasure and choose portions that were
smaller than those they expected to enjoy the most. Nutrition
labeling reduced the willingness to pay for the food com-
pared with multisensory imagery.
There are boundary conditions to the effects of sensory
imagery. By increasing the importance of sensory pleasure
and decreasing the importance of hunger or dieting consid-
erations as drivers of portion size choice, sensory imagery
backred (though not consistently and not signicantly across
studies) among sated consumers and dieters who would have
otherwise chosen small portions. We acknowledge that en-
couraging sated people to choose larger portions is indeed
a problem from a healthful eating standpoint. For dieters,
however, the nding that sensory imagery leads them to
choose larger (but still reasonable) portions of hedonic food
may actually be less problematic than it seems. Evidence
shows that most dieters eventually fail to follow their dieting
regime, and that when that happens, the backlash negates the
benets of their previous sacrices (Bublitz, Peracchio, and
Block 2010; Fedoroff, Polivy, and Herman 1997; Stroebe
et al. 2013). Choosing moderate portions of hedonic food,
especially when done because of pleasure expectations, may
therefore be more conducive to a more healthful diet in the
long run than strict but unsustainable cognitive restraint fol-
lowed by extreme overeating. To that point, Studies 1 and 2
provided preliminary evidence that pleasure-based choices of
smaller portions do not lead to subsequent compensation, at
least in a second hypothetical choice. Although prior research
has investigated compensation effects in food choices using
consecutive hypothetical choices (e.g., Laran 2010), additional
research is necessary to determine compensation effects after
actual intake and in the long run. Furthermore, chronic diet-
ing is associated with feelings of anxiety and of less well-being
and happiness in general (Block et al. 2011; Coveney 2006),
whereas a tendency to value the sensory pleasure of eating is
associated with greater well-being and happiness (Jose, Lim,
and Bryant 2012; Quoidbach et al. 2010). This suggests that
pleasure-based arguments can be an effective alternative to
health or dieting arguments to achieve healthful eating and
contribute to overall food well-being(Block et al. 2011).
IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH
Our research opens new avenues for further research. First,
our focus was on portion size choice, conditional on people
having decided to eat. Additional research could examine
the effects of multisensory food imagery on consumption
incidence (when to eat) and food choice (what to eat). Such
research would indicate whether, from a public health
perspective, multisensory imagery interventions are only
warranted when people have already decided to eat (e.g.,
while waiting at a restaurant or sitting down at the family
Pleasure as a Substitute for Size 861
table) or if they can also be used in situations when people
have not yet decided what and when to eat (e.g., in su-
permarkets). In the latter cases, it is possible that multi-
sensory imagery, by emphasizing sensory pleasure, leads
people to choose tastier over more healthful foods, which
may partially or totally negate the health benets of choosing
smaller portions. The overall effect of sensory imagery on
healthful eating (the combination of what, when, and how
much to eat) is therefore uncertain and open to further
investigations.
Furthermore, we compared the effect of multisensory im-
agery among hungry versus sated people who were all normal
eaters (Studies 2, 3, and 5) and among normal eaters versus
dieters who were all hungry (Study 4). We found a moderate
backlash effect among hungry dieters and among nondieting
sated people, who naturally tended to choose smaller por-
tions in the control condition and larger portions in the
multisensory imagery condition. Research could examine the
effect of multisensory imagery when both hunger and dieting
vary and, in particular, the extent of the backlash effect among
sated dieters. More importantly, research should aim to better
understand this backlash effect. We suggested that mul-
tisensory imagery negates the impact of being sated or of
dieting by making people choose portions on the basis of
sensory pleasure expectations rather than how hungry they
are or their dietary goals. Another explanation, especially
regarding the backlash effect among dieters, may be that
sensory imagery creates ambivalent attitudes and conicts
between hedonic goals and dieting goals, resulting in self-
control failure (Cornil et al. 2014; Stroebe et al. 2013).
In this article, we focus on hedonic, calorie-dense foods
because of their negative impact on health. From a theo-
retical perspective, we would expect multisensory imagery
to have a weaker effect on staple foods such as bread or
rice or on healthful snacks such as cereals, which exhibit
less sensory-specic satiation (Redden and Haws 2013;
Sorensen et al. 2003). Further research should test whether
multisensory imagery has the dual advantage of limiting
the intake of hedonic foods but not more healthful foods. It
would also be useful to test our interventions when a variety
of food is availablesuch as served buffet stylegiven that
people exhibit less sensory satiation when food is varied
(Rolls et al. 1981). Similarly, research could explore the impact
of multisensory imagery on nonfood experiential consumption
(e.g., music). In many instances, pleasure diminishes with
repetition but, in general, people fail to predict this hedonic
adaptation effect (Wang, Novemsky, and Dhar 2009).
In addition, research could explore other consequences of
multisensory imagery. For example, training children to focus
on the multisensory experiences of eating may encourage them
to approach novel foods or to learn to appreciate the hedonic
value of eating fruits and vegetables (Hong et al. 2011). Fi-
nally, multisensory imagery could be extended to nonsensory
aspects of eating pleasure, for example, by prompting people to
consider the aesthetic and symbolic dimensions of eating
pleasure, such as the pleasure derived from beautifully pre-
sented dishes and tables (Hoyer and Stokburger-Sauer 2012;
Zellner et al. 2014) or learning about the foodsoriginand
preparation (Korsmeyer 1999).
In conclusion, our results question a rich cultural and phil-
osophical tradition that deems sensory pleasure as immoral
and taste as an impoverished sense responsible for bodily
intemperance (Cornil and Chandon 2015; Coveney 2006;
Korsmeyer 1999). Alba and Williams (2013) observe that
this tradition is perpetuated in modern research on consumer
behavior, for example, when food choices are framed as vices or
virtues. Our ndings suggest that it is time to stop caricaturing
eating enjoyment as the simple fulllment of visceral impulses
and to rehabilitate the pleasure of eating, as experienced in
countries such as France, Italy, Japan, and South Korea, where
the prevalence of obesity and eating disorders is noticeably low
(Rozin et al. 2003; Rozin, Remick, and Fischler 2011).
ADDITIONAL STATEMENT
We have reported the total number of observations ex-
cluded, the criteria for exclusion, and all experimental
conditions. We have also reported all measures, except for
demographic data (age, income, and education) not used in
the analyses. We aimed for large sample sizes (>50) per
conditioninstudiesrunonMTurk(Studies2,3,and5).In
Study 1, we had access to only two classes of children, for a
total of 21 participants per condition. In Study 4, we were
also constrained by the limited number of female participants
in the subject pool who were interested in a study involving
actual consumption of commercial chocolate cake, and we
reached 30 participants in each of the 12 conditions.
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864 JOURNAL OF MARKETING RESEARCH, OCTOBER 2016

Supplementary resource (1)

... For instance, many studies have examined preferences between indulgent foods and less calorically dense versions (e.g., regular vs. low-fat versions of snacks) (Kahn and Isen 1993;Raghunathan, Naylor, and Hoyer 2006;Romero and Biswas 2016;Wardle and Solomons 1994). Other studies have examined choices between different portion sizes of indulgent foods (e.g., larger vs. smaller pieces of cake) (Coelho do Vale, Pieters, and Zeelenberg 2008;Cornil and Chandon 2016;Lewis and Earl 2018;Scott et al. 2008;Sharpe, Staelin, and Huber 2008). ...
... With regard to our focal choice set (the two kinds of lower-calorie options), a larger but less calorically dense version of an indulgent food will likely be perceived as providing less taste enjoyment than a smaller but more calorically dense version of an indulgent food. Indeed, prior research has shown that decreasing the portion size of an indulgent food does not affect its perceived taste enjoyment (Cornil and Chandon 2016;Liu et al. 2015), whereas labeling a food as "lower-fat" decreases it (Raghunathan, Naylor, and Hoyer 2006). In fact, Cornil and Chandon (2016) found that anticipated sensory pleasure was higher for smaller portions than larger portions of indulgent food (e.g., chocolate brownies). ...
... Indeed, prior research has shown that decreasing the portion size of an indulgent food does not affect its perceived taste enjoyment (Cornil and Chandon 2016;Liu et al. 2015), whereas labeling a food as "lower-fat" decreases it (Raghunathan, Naylor, and Hoyer 2006). In fact, Cornil and Chandon (2016) found that anticipated sensory pleasure was higher for smaller portions than larger portions of indulgent food (e.g., chocolate brownies). However, despite the importance of taste enjoyment for most consumers, if the strength of taste enjoyment considerations does not vary as a function of dietary restraint levels (as we discuss in the next section), then this goal is unlikely to account for differences in preferences as a function of dietary restraint. ...
Article
The marketplace includes many attractive high-calorie indulgent food offerings. Despite their appeal, consumers may often be prompted to consider lower-calorie-package offerings instead (e.g., 100-calorie packs). The question thus arises: What predicts consumers’ preferences between different kinds of lower-calorie offerings? The authors conceptualize two different routes to lower-calorie versions of indulgent foods: a lower-caloric-density version (e.g., baked potato chips) or a smaller-portion-size version (e.g., a smaller bag of potato chips). The authors examine how such versions are differentially preferred and why, focusing on the key role of dietary restraint. The authors show that as dietary restraint increases, the preference for a lower-calorie version created via lower caloric density (vs. a smaller portion size) increases. Differential weights placed on health and fullness goals help explain differing preferences across dietary restraint (as the lower-caloric-density version is perceived as healthier and more filling, albeit less tasty, than the smaller-portion-size version). This framework offers theoretical implications for understanding two routes to cutting calories, practical implications for food marketers, and methodological implications for studying food choices.
... Considering the increasing obesity prevalence and a constant tempting environment, our aim is to investigate how mental simulation can promote the choice of virtue foods. The role of mental simulations in healthier behavior has gained interest in the past years, and indeed, a considerable amount of literature has been published on how eating simulations affect behavior [14][15][16][17][18]. However, the majority of the studies have only used or evoked consumption simulations (process simulations) but the use of post-consumption simulations (outcome simulations), especially in combination with virtue foods, has been poorly studied. ...
... Indeed, studies, where consumption simulations of vice foods have been consciously evoked, have shown that appetitive reactions increased. For example, instructing people to imagine the consumption of food (process simulation) increased salivation compared to when participants simply looked at food pictures [29], and also increased expected enjoyment of smaller portions, which resulted in a smaller portion size selection [18]. Another example is, if one vividly imagines the smell of a vice food, salivation, desire and subsequent actual consumption of the food they imagine smelling will be greater, compared to when they do not imagine the smell [30]. ...
... Similarly, imagining eating a vice food increases salivation compared to a neutral food such as bread [29]. Some other studies have examined the effect of mental simulations on selections of portion sizes [16,18,31]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Many times, desire possesses us and impedes us from making healthier food choices. From a grounded cognition perspective, we investigated the role of two types of mental simulation (process and outcome) in desire and food choice to understand the processes that modulate them and find strategies that encourage healthier food choices. In addition to these explicit measures, we used two implicit methods to measure approach-avoidance tendencies and visual attention. Our results showed that imagining the consumption of vice and virtue foods increased desire for the product imagined and seemed to favor the choice of a vice food. However, at an implicit level, the motivation to approach and avoid food products was neutral. Imagining the post-consumption of a vice food decreased desire for the imagined food and although it tempted people at an implicit level, it made people more prone to choose a virtue food. When a vice food was imagined, attentional bias increased for all types of food regardless of the simulation. When a virtue food was imagined, there was no effect on choice, motivation nor attentional bias. In conclusion, simply imagining certain foods is a potential solution for promoting healthier and thoughtful choices.
... Still other theories may predict that the opposite sequence (whole-to-partial) may reduce portion size choices. For example, a whole-to-partial sequence (or single partial image) may induce consumers to mentally simulate eating the food, which may reduce their feelings of hunger, and consequently reduce their portion size choices, although such mental simulation effects typically require repeated or prolonged simulations (Cornil and Chandon 2016;Larson et al. 2014;Morewedge et al. 2010). However, research also suggests that brief mental simulation of eating may lead consumers to want more by increasing their cravings (Dadds et al. 1997;Soetens et al. 2006). ...
Thesis
This dissertation consists of three essays that develop marketing interventions to influence consumers judgment, choice, and behaviors. Essay 1 studies whether, how, and when crossmodal correspondences affect downstream judgments. Essay 2 develops a behavioral intervention aimed at reducing consumers’ choices of food portion sizes, which can be easily used in the settings of online food ordering such as food delivery apps. Essay 3 studies whether prosocial incentive scheme can effectively motivate consumers to participate in online referral programs.
... Il piacere emozionale del cibo viene indagato più approfonditamente da Batat et al. (2019) che, partendo dal lavoro di Cornil e Chandon (2016a; 2016b) sul piacere epicureo del cibo (EEP -Epicurean Eating Pleasure), introducono il concetto di EPF (Experiential Pleasure of Food) come un viaggio che coinvolge il piacere cognitivo ed emotivo duraturo, che i consumatori provano assaporando i significati multisensoriali e culturali di tale esperienza (Batat et al., 2019;Cornil & Chandon, 2016a, 2016b. Tale viaggio inizia ancora prima che gli eventi gastronomici abbiano luogo, nell'attesa di assaporare il cibo e prosegue con l'acquisto, il consumo e il suo ricordo: l'EPF si basa sulla filosofia del piacere esperienziale, secondo cui degustare sia fondamentale per creare associazioni ed emozioni positive e porti a un maggiore benessere del consumatore (Arnould, Price, & Zinkhan, 2002;Jose, Lim, & Bryant, 2012). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The study aims to analyze the relationship of the decision-making style of SME-exporters with their entrepreneurial orientation, and to characterize their decision-making mechanisms. A mixed mode CAWI/CATI method was applied on 300 Polish firms from the manufacturing sector in Spring of 2018. To assess their decision making we applied the scale adapted from Chandler et al. (2011), and to evaluate their entrepreneurial orientation, the scale adapted from Fiore et al. (2013) was used. We found that formal planning dominated the studied INVs’ decision making. Moreover, there was a relatively strong correlation between the rational, predictive decision making and entrepreneurial orientation elements.
... Nor did we ask participants to fast 2 h before participating in the experiment, as Dassen and colleagues [23]. Instead, we measured participants' level of hunger and considered it as a potential moderator in our study, as previous studies have shown hunger to moderate the effects of manipulations that influence eating e.g., [28][29][30]. Finally, unlike Dassen and colleagues [23], who only offered participants unhealthy food, we offered participants both healthy and unhealthy food options, as we wished to examine whether the effects of manipulating time perspective were specific to unhealthy food, or whether they generalized to healthier food. ...
Article
Research suggests that being oriented more towards the future (than the present) is correlated with healthier eating. However, this research tends to be correlational, and thus it is unclear whether inducing people to think about their future could increase healthy eating. Therefore, we investigated whether inducing people to think about their lives in the future versus the present would influence their intake of healthy (muesli) and unhealthy (Maltesers) food. Across two experiments, the effect of thinking about the future versus the present interacted with participants' body mass index (BMI) to influence their consumption of unhealthy food, but no reliable effects were found for the consumption of healthy food. Among individuals with a higher BMI, thinking about their lives in the future resulted in lower consumption of the unhealthy food compared to thinking about their lives in the present. However, this effect was reversed for those with a lower BMI. In Experiment 2, we found no evidence that this effect was due to reduced impulsivity (as measured by a delay discounting task and a stop-signal task). This suggests that thinking about the future can reduce unhealthy eating among heavier people.
... Finally, a sensory focus can also help consumers better plan their snacking consumption ahead. In an experiment, Cornil and Chandon [51], asked a group of participants to vividly imagining the sensory enjoyment of a snack food (taste, smell, texture) prior to choosing a portion size of chocolate cake. Compared to a control group, these participants tended to choose smaller portion sizes. ...
... Extant research on food allergies and intolerances often takes a biomedical perspective (Nettleton et al., 2009) or deals with retail and marketing aspects such as food labelling (Voordouw et al., 2009). Consumer research on non-adherence to taste regimes typically focuses on issues such as food moralities (Askegaard et al., 2014) and anticonsumption (Black and Cherrier, 2010), while research on hedonic food consumption considers its connection to healthy eating (Cornil and Chandon, 2016b) or aesthetic aspects such as portion size (Cornil and Chandon, 2016a) and taste (Crolic and Janiszewski, 2016). ...
Article
Prior research has shown that practices in aesthetically oriented cultures of consumption are orchestrated by hegemonic taste regimes. Adherence to such regimes may be challenging for some consumers such as those with food intolerances, though, exposing them to the potential social stigma invoked by non‐adherence. This article investigates how consumers with food intolerance strive to adhere to hegemonic taste regimes and avoid social stigma through a qualitative study of the quest of Danish consumers with histamine intolerance to derive pleasure from hedonic food consumption. Four coping strategies are identified: experimenting in an exploration of the liminal space between consumable and non‐consumable foods, substituting non‐tolerable foods by safe ones, facilitating consumption of non‐tolerable foods through the use of medical and technological aids, and prioritizing practices of hedonic food consumption over adverse bodily reactions. These coping strategies are conjectured to be generalizable in the context of other aesthetically oriented (sub‐)cultures of consumption and suggest an alternative perspective on hedonism as minimization of loss of pleasure rather than as maximization of pleasure. The implications of the findings extend beyond the context of hedonic food consumption, though, presenting empirical evidence for and nuancing recent extensions of Goffman’s theory of social stigma and providing insights on the relation between public stigma and self‐stigma, on how taste regimes can be experienced as exclusive and oppressive, and on how social stigma positively reinforces hegemonic taste regimes.
... Given that in our studies trait hedonic capacity was, if anything, slightly positively related to trait self-control, we would not expect that people high in trait hedonic capacity are worse off regarding those outcomes. In fact, people who have a strong need to pursue hedonic goals but are not successful at it might have a tendency to compensate by either increasing the quantity (Cornil & Chandon, 2016) or the intensity of hedonic experiences (cf. Van Der Wal & Van Dillen, 2013). ...
Article
Self-control helps to align behavior with long-term goals (e.g., exercising to stay fit) and shield it from conflicting hedonic goals (e.g., relaxing). Decades of research have shown that self-control is associated with numerous positive outcomes, such as well-being. In the present article, we argue that hedonic goal pursuit is equally important for well-being, and that conflicting long-term goals can undermine it in the form of intrusive thoughts. In Study 1, we developed a measure of trait hedonic capacity, which captures people’s success in hedonic goal pursuit and the occurrence of intrusive thoughts. In Studies 2A and 2B, people’s trait hedonic capacity relates positively to well-being. Study 3 confirms intrusive thoughts as major impeding mechanism of hedonic success. Studies 4 and 5 demonstrate that trait hedonic capacity predicts successful hedonic goal pursuit in everyday life. We conclude that hedonic goal pursuit represents a largely neglected but adaptive aspect of self-regulation.
... "Research on overeating assumes that pleasure must be sacrificed for the sake of good health. Contrary to this view, the authors show that focusing on sensory pleasure can make people happier and willing to spend more for less food, a triple win for public health, consumers, and companies alike" [3]. Thus, pleasure and hedonism matter, and there is potential for embedding and highlighting those qualities in healthy food. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Within this paper, we focus on the concept of complexity and how it is represented in food blogging entries on Twitter. We turn specific attention to complexity capture when looking at healthy foods, focusing on food blogging entries that entail the notions of health/healthiness/healthy. We do so because we consider that complexity manifests hedonism - that is the irrational determinant of food choice above rational considerations of nutrition and healthiness. Using text as a platform for our analysis, we derive bigrams and topic models that illustrate the frequencies of words and bi-grams, thus, pointing our attention to current discourse in food blogging entries on Twitter. The results show that, contrary to complexity, that the dominating characteristics in healthy food domain are easiness and speed of preparation, however, rational and health related considerations may not always take precedence when the choice is determined. Food blogging entries show surprisingly little account of healthy food as being tasty and enjoyable. With this we aim to contribute to the knowledge of how to shape more healthy consumer behaviors. Having discovered the scarcity of hedonic connotations, this work invites for further research in text-based information about food.
Thesis
En France, le goûter est une habitude fréquente chez les enfants qui se caractérise généralement par la consommation d’aliments gras, sucrés et riches en énergie. Si les comportements alimentaires restent flexibles et peuvent évoluer tout au long de la vie, ils sont déjà fortement établis dès l’enfance. Dans ce contexte, améliorer les habitudes alimentaires en matière de goûter semble primordiale. L’objectif de cette thèse est donc d’évaluer l’efficacité de leviers visant à favoriser des choix de goûters favorables à la santé au sein du binôme mère-enfant. Une première expérimentation a été conduite de façon à évaluer l’impact du système d’étiquetage nutritionnel Nutri-Score sur la qualité nutritionnelle et sur l’appréciation des goûters choisis au sein du binôme mère-enfant. Les résultats soulignent une amélioration de la qualité nutritionnelle des goûters choisis par les participants pour eux-mêmes et pour l’autre membre du binôme à la suite de l’étiquetage des aliments avec le logo Nutri-Score. Cette amélioration s’accompagne toutefois d’une diminution de l’appréciation à l’égard des goûters choisis par les enfants et par les mères. Une deuxième expérimentation a été menée de façon à évaluer l’efficacité d’une intervention hédonique conduite au domicile mobilisant trois dimensions du plaisir alimentaire (sensorielle, interpersonnelle et psychosociale) pour stimuler la consommation d’aliments sains sur la qualité nutritionnelle des goûters choisis au laboratoire au sein du binôme mère-enfant. Cette intervention a également été testée sur différents indicateurs caractérisant la composition nutritionnelle des goûters consommés au domicile par les enfants. Si l’intervention n’a pas permis d’améliorer la qualité nutritionnelle des goûters choisis au laboratoire par les enfants et leur mère, elle a réduit la charge énergétique des goûters consommés au domicile par les enfants. Cette réduction serait due à une diminution des quantités consommées. Les résultats obtenus dans le cadre de ce travail pourraient fournir des pistes de réflexion à destination des autorités publiques chargées de la communication et des recommandations en matière d’alimentation chez les enfants.
Article
Experiences generally provide less pleasure as we repeat them---they satiate. Although satiation lowers consumer welfare and limits the consumption of a marketer's product, researchers have identified few techniques to reduce satiation. This paper proposes that satiation depends on perceptions of repetition within a particular category of experiences. By subcategorizing episodes, people can slow the decline in enjoyment from additional consumption. Subcategorization focuses people's attention on aspects that differentiate the episodes, making generally similar episodes seem less repetitive and consequently less satiating. Four studies demonstrate this specificity effect for measures of concurrent and retrospective evaluations of enjoyment, the desire to continue a repeated experience, and predicted satiation.
Article
The present series of studies aimed to investigate whether experience with a flavor in mothers' milk modifies the infants' acceptance of similarly flavored foods at weaning. First, we established, using methods developed in our laboratory, that the ingestion of carrot juice by lactating women produced a sensory change in their milk approximately 2 to 3 hr after the ingestion of the beverage. Second, we randomly formed two groups of breast-fed infants who had been fed cereal for a few weeks but had only experienced cereal prepared with water. Their mothers were asked to consume one of two types of beverages (i.e., carrot juice, water) during the exposure period. Each mother was observed feeding her infant cereal during four test sessions. The first two sessions occurred during the 2 days before the exposure period; in counterbalanced order, infants were fed cereal prepared with water on I testing day and cereal prepared with carrot juice on the other. These two test sessions were then repeated following the exposure period. The results demonstrated that the infants who had exposure to the flavor of carrots in their mothers' milk during the exposure period consumed less of the carrot-flavored cereal and spent less time feeding when compared to the control infants whose mothers consumed the water. This may be a form of sensory-specific satiety such that the infants become less responsive to a flavor that they have been extensively exposed to in the very recent past. (C) 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Article
The present research re-examines one of the most basic assertions regarding the evaluation of hedonic experiences: the end effect. The end effect suggests that the retrospective evaluation of an experience is disproportionately influenced by the final moments of the experience. The findings in this article indicate that endings are not inherently over-weighted in retrospective evaluations. That is, episodes do not disproportionately affect the evaluation of an experience simply because they occur at the end. We replicate findings that are consistent with the end effect, but provide additional evidence implicating other processes as driving factors of those findings. (PsycINFO Database Record
Article
Following on from the success of the first edition, John Coveney traces our complex relationship with food and eating and our preoccupation with diet, self-discipline and food guilt. Using our current fascination with health and nutrition, he explores why our appetite for food pleasures makes us feel anxious. This up-to-date edition includes an examination of how our current obsession with body size, especially fatness, drives a national and international panic about the obesity 'epidemic'. Focusing on how our food anxieties have stemmed from social, political and religious problems in Western history, Food, Morals and Meaning looks at: The ancient Greeks' preoccupation with eating. Early Christianity and the conflict between the pleasures of the flesh and spirituality. Scientific developments in eighteenth and nineteenth century Europe and our current knowledge of food. The social organization of food in the modern home, based on real interviews. The obesity 'epidemic' and its association with moral degeneration. Based on the work of Michel Foucault, this fresh and updated edition explains how a rationalization food choice - so apparent in current programmes on nutrition and health - can be traced through a genealogy of historical social imperatives and moral panics. Food, Morals and Meaning is essential reading for those studying nutrition, public health, sociology of health and illness and sociology of the body.
Article
There has been a recent swell of interest in marketing as well as psychology pertaining to the role of sensory experiences in judgment and decision making. Within marketing, the field of sensory marketing has developed which explores the role of the senses in consumer behavior. In psychology, the dominant computer metaphor of information processing has been challenged by researchers demonstrating various manners in which mental activity is grounded in sensory experience. These findings are arduous to explain using the amodal model of the human mind. In this introduction, we first delineate key assumptions of the information processing paradigm and then discuss some of the key conceptual challenges posed by the research generally appearing under the titles of embodiment, grounded cognition, or sensory marketing. We then address the use of bodily feelings as a source of information; next, we turn to the role of context sensitive perception, imagery, and simulation in consumer behavior, and finally discuss the role of metaphors. Through this discourse, we note the contributions to the present special issue as applicable.
Article
Wansink and Chandon have examined the "mindlessness" that is often evident in everyday food intake. In this commentary, we focus on four issues raised by Wansink and Chandon's paper: (1) the distinction between food choice and food intake; (2) their model of food intake (and how it compares and contrasts with our own model of food intake); (3) the role of monitoring in the control of food intake; and (4) the meaning of "mindless" eating. In each case we find value in Wansink and Chandon's proposals but also an opportunity for further analysis and refinement.