Failing to pay heed to health warnings in a food-associated environment

People often fail to adhere to food-related health information. Increasing evidence suggests that environmental stimuli interfere with good intentions by triggering choices relatively automatically. Using a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer (PIT) task, we examined whether food-associated stimuli reduce health warnings’ effectiveness. We expected that people adhere to health warnings in the absence, but not presence, of food-associated stimuli. In addition, we examined timing effects, i.e., whether health warnings are more effective when they are given prior to associative learning rather than afterwards.

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