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Effects of a Nudging Cue Targeting Food Choice in a University Cafeteria: A Field Study

  • Many students approaching adulthood often choose high-calorie food products. Concurrently, health interventions applied during this life phase can potentially lead to a healthier lifestyle. Nudge health interventions in experimental cafeteria settings have been found to improve eating behavior effectively, yet research in real-world settings is lacking. Accepting nudges as health interventions impacts nudge effectiveness. The present study applies a pretest–posttest design for a period of three consecutive weeks (no nudge, nudge, no nudge), testing the effectiveness of the so-called Giacometti cue on the number of calories purchased in a real-world cafeteria. Students were exposed to the nudge during the intervention week when entering the cafeteria and when choosing their meals. After purchasing a meal, their choice was recorded, and they completed a questionnaire. The Giacometti cue immediately reduced the number of calories purchased (comparing weeks one and two). After nudge removal, an effect was identified, increasing the number of calories purchased (comparing weeks two and three). Contrary to expectations, higher nudge acceptance resulted in more calories purchased. Neither awareness of the nudge’s presence when buying food nor the interaction between acceptance and awareness played a role. We explore potential explanations for the Giacometti cue’s effects.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Christine Kawa, Patrizia M. Ianiro-Dahm, Jan F. H. Nijhuis, Wim H. Gijselaers
Parent Title (English):Healthcare
Article Number:1307
Number of pages:23
Place of publication:Basel
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2023/05/03
Copyright:© 2023 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license.
Funding:This research received no external funding.
Keyword:cafeteria setting; eating behavior; field study; food choice; health intervention; immediate effects; nudge acceptance; nudging; students
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Open access funding:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Graduierteninstitut
Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg / Publikationsfonds / 2022 ff
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft / DFG Förderung Open Access Publikationskosten 2023 - 2025
Entry in this database:2023/05/12
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International