In the January issue of the Journal of Marketing, Brian Wansink, the John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing, Applied Economics and Management at Cornell, and two colleagues describe several studies they devised to test the link between mood and food. For example, they recruited 38 administrative assistants to watch either an upbeat, funny movie ("Sweet Home Alabama") or a sad, depressing one ("Love Story"). Throughout the viewings the participants were offered hot buttered, salty popcorn and seedless grapes.
"After the movies were over and the tears were wiped away, those who had watched 'Love Story' had eaten 36 percent more popcorn than those who had watched the upbeat 'Sweet Home Alabama,'" said Wansink, author of the recent book "Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think" (Bantam Books). "Those watching 'Sweet Home Alabama' ate popcorn and popped grapes, but they spent much more time popping grapes as they laughed through the movie than they did eating popcorn."
Wansink suspects that happy people want to maintain or extend their moods in the short term, but consider the long term and so turn to comfort food with more nutritional value. People feeling sad or depressed, however, just want to "jolt themselves out of the dumps" with a quick indulgent snack that tastes good and gives them an immediate "bump of euphoria."
To see whether nutritional information influences comfort-food consumption, the researchers offered popcorn to volunteers who completed several assignments, including irrelevant mental tasks, writing descriptions of four things that made them happy (or sad) and reading short stories that were either happy or sad. One group reviewed nutritional information about popcorn, while the other did not.
The researchers found that the sad people with no nutritional information ate twice as much popcorn as those feeling happy. In the groups that reviewed nutritional labels, however, the happy people ate about the same amount, but the sad people dramatically curbed their consumption, eating even less popcorn than the happy people.
"Thus, it appears that happy people are already avoiding consumption, and the presence of nutritional information does not drive their consumption any lower," said Wansink.
"While each of us may look for a comfort food when we are either sad or happy, we are likely to eat more of it when we are sad," Wansink concluded. "Since nutritional information appears to influence how much people eat when they are in sad moods, those eating in a sad mood would serve themselves well by checking the nutritional information of the comfort foods they choose to indulge themselves with."
The studies were conducted with Nitika Garg of the University of Mississippi and J. Jeffrey Inman of the University of Pittsburgh.
Press Relations Office | EurekAlert!
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Climate change and air pollution damaging health and causing millions of premature deaths
30.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
What if a sensor sensing a thing could be part of the thing itself? Rice University engineers believe they have a two-dimensional solution to do just that.
Rice engineers led by materials scientists Pulickel Ajayan and Jun Lou have developed a method to make atom-flat sensors that seamlessly integrate with devices...
Scientists at the University of Stuttgart and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) succeed in important further development on the way to quantum Computers.
Quantum computers one day should be able to solve certain computing problems much faster than a classical computer. One of the most promising approaches is...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine
12.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
12.12.2018 | Health and Medicine