According to a recent examine, whether it’s avocado toast or perhaps cupcakes, we expect desirable food to be better for us.
Previous research has found that a so-called “attractiveness halo” may lead some persons to assume that good-looking persons are smarter. Today a report from Linda Hagen of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles finds that a similar result occurs with food.
The study finds that people consider prettier food to become more healthful.
Hagen’s study, “Pretty Healthy Food: How so when Aesthetics Enhance Perceived Healthiness,” appears in the Journal of Advertising.
What makes food pretty
According to the study, people have exposure to around 4,013 food and 2,844 cafe advertisements each year. These ads feature photos of perfect-looking foods, properly styled for the surveillance camera.
Advertisements use images to trigger the area of the brain that perceives tastes, which activates our brain’s reward centre to give us a little mental “style” of a wonderful dining experience.
This may also work against the food’s desirability, according to Hagen. These emotions may unconsciously prompt us to think about such foods as tasting too good to be good for us. Nonetheless, internet marketers generally view such marketing as effective.
If it is not just how that pretty food activates the brain’s reward center, the analysis asks, “May the alluringly good-looking pizza actually seem to be healthier for you, by virtue of its aesthetics?”
People, foods, and things strike us as classically lovely when they possess certain attributes, such as for example symmetry and self-similar patterns, that people consider beautiful in nature.
Hagen cites the example of Fibonacci series-based “golden spiral” habits that come in the repeating arrangements of plant leaves. Regarding food, the analysis asserts that people have a tendency to associate foodstuff with a nature-established attractiveness to be better for them.
Pretty food = more healthy food = more healthy food, says the analysis.
In this equation, our unconscious response to the prettiness of food might override our objective know-how that vitamins and minerals, or being low-fat or low-calorie, are not actually visible traits.
Hagen investigated her hypothesis in some experiments.
The first experiment involved tasking 803 participants with finding both “pretty” and “ugly” images of ice cream sundaes, burgers, pizza, sandwiches, lasagna, omelets, and salads. Needlessly to say, the participants rated the pretty versions of their foods to be healthier. They did not discover tastiness, freshness, and part size as influencing factors.
In another experiment, participants rated the healthiness of avocado toast. Before viewing photos of the dish, persons received details on the materials and price, that was identical for every one of the examples.
Participants who saw pictures of “pretty” avocado toast rated it as being more natural and in addition healthier.
Prettiness did not affect perceived tastiness.
In another experiment that tested the result of stimulus bias, Hagen provided 801 people with two identical images of a range of foods that varied in healthfulness levels. The food were almond butter and banana toast, spaghetti marinara, and cupcakes. The researchers manipulated the individuals to expect either a pretty or ugly image:
“This study is about PRETTY [UGLY] FOOD. The food in the graphic we are showing you will be very fairly [ugly] … The foods will become orderly [disorderly], they'll look symmetrical [lopsided], and the proportions will be well-balanced [unbalanced].”
Supporting the notion that attractiveness follows normal properties, individuals determined the food was prettier if they were expecting a great orderly, symmetrical, and well balanced presentation in the photograph they viewed. Once more, the participants associated rather foods with being considerably more natural and extra healthful.
To test the result of attractiveness on getting behavior, Hagen asked 89 people if they will be willing to pay for either a quite or an ugly bell pepper. Again, participants were more inclined to get the better-seeking pepper after judging it to be more pure- and healthful-looking. (In addition they expected it to tastes better.)
Hagen as well conducted a couple of online experiments working with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, confirming that only classical prettiness characteristics damaged perceptions of the attractiveness of foodstuff.