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Social norms and their real-time Influence on snacking

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posted on 2023-05-27, 11:12 authored by Papadakis, T
Social cues, such as being in the presence of others eating, have a powerful and pervasive influence on snacking behaviour. Previous research suggests that observing others eating leads to the creation of implicit and situation-specific social eating norms which guide appropriate eating behaviour. However, to date, social norms have not been examined in real world settings and in near real-time. Therefore, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) measures were used to collect data from 61 individuals over a 14 day monitoring period. Participants recorded their food intake and responded to questions about social norms when ever they consumed food and at random time points throughout the day. As anticipated, results indicated that being in the presence of others eating significantly increased the likelihood of snacking, and that social norms partially mediated this effect. Importantly, social norms were found to vary from moment to moment and differentially predict snacking depending on the social context. We therefore argue for the importance of examining social norms in real time in order to ascertain their true influence on snacking behaviour.

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Copyright 2016 the author

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