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Priming effects of an olfactory food cue on subsequent food-related behaviour

Abstract : Studies in cognitive psychology have highlighted a link between perception and action, by revealing the non-conscious influence that a cue can have on thinking and doing. The present study aimed at exploring whether an olfactory food cue could have an impact on food choices. We chose fruity odours as olfactory food cues, in order to examine if this kind of olfactory cue could lead individuals to choose fruit and vegetables. In the first experiment, 58 participants were assigned randomly to either a control or a melon-scent condition. In the melon-scent condition, they were unobtrusively exposed to a melon odorant in a waiting room, while in the control condition the room was non-odorized. Then, they all performed a lexical decision task and a task involving choices from a menu. The results showed that participants in the melon-scent condition answered faster only for the word 'melon' in comparison with other tested words. Moreover, participants in the melon-scent condition were more likely than control participants to choose starters with vegetables, but not main courses or desserts with fruit and vegetables. Seventy participants took part in the second experiment, in which we replicated the same protocol, but using a pear odorant as the cue. The results showed that participants in the pear-scent condition were significantly more likely than those in the control condition to choose desserts with fruit, but not starters or main courses with vegetables. These results indicate that the non-conscious perception of a fruity odour may activate a 'fruit and vegetables' concept, but also a concept of the context of consumption. Moreover, they support the idea of priming effects 'specific to a food cue'.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 16, 2021 - 7:48:46 PM
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Marie Gaillet, Claire Sulmont-Rossé, Sylvie Issanchou, Claire Chabanet, Stephanie Chambaron. Priming effects of an olfactory food cue on subsequent food-related behaviour. Food Quality and Preference, Elsevier, 2013, 30 (2), pp.274 - 281. ⟨10.1016/j.foodqual.2013.06.008⟩. ⟨hal-02650159⟩



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