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The calories underestimation of “organic” food: Exploring the impact of implicit evaluations

Besson, Theo, Lalot, Fanny, Bochard, Nicolas, Flaudias, Valentin, Zerhouni, Oulmann (2019) The calories underestimation of “organic” food: Exploring the impact of implicit evaluations. Appetite, 137 . pp. 134-144. ISSN 0195-6663. (doi:10.1016/j.appet.2019.02.019) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:76092)

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Specific attributes of a food product can cause it to be spontaneously but wrongly perceived as healthier than it really is (i.e., the health halo effect). Notably, there is preliminary evidence that individuals evaluate organic food as less caloric than regular, non-organic food. However, explanations regarding the cognitive mechanisms underlying the health halo effect remain scarce. Drawing from the implicit cognition literature, we hypothesize that this effect could be due to (a) the reactivation in memory of implicit positive evaluations and/or (b) the reactivation of a semantic association between the concepts “organic” and “non-caloric”. We first conducted a 2 (Product label: organic versus non-organic)×continuous (Valence-IAT score)×continuous (Calorie-IAT score) study (N=151) to test these hypotheses, and conducted a conceptual replication in a second study (N=269). We computed Bayesian analyses alongside frequentist analyses in order to test for potential null hypotheses, as well as frequencies and Bayesian meta-regression including both datasets. Both methods provided consistent results. First, Bayesian analyses yielded extremely strong evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the organic label leads to an underestimation of caloric value. Second, they provided strong evidence that this effect is not moderated by implicit evaluations. Hence, we replicated the organic halo effect but showed that, surprisingly, it does not arise from implicit associations. We discuss these findings and propose directions for future research regarding the mechanisms underlying calories (under)estimation.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.02.019
Uncontrolled keywords: Health halo effect; Halo effect; Organic food; Implicit attitudes
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Fanny Lalot
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2019 09:39 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:06 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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