Is cake more appealing in the afternoon? Time of day is associated with control over automatic positive responses to unhealthy food

Haynes, A, Kemps, E and Moffitt, R 2016, 'Is cake more appealing in the afternoon? Time of day is associated with control over automatic positive responses to unhealthy food', Food Quality and Preference, vol. 54, pp. 67-74.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Is cake more appealing in the afternoon? Time of day is associated with control over automatic positive responses to unhealthy food
Author(s) Haynes, A
Kemps, E
Moffitt, R
Year 2016
Journal name Food Quality and Preference
Volume number 54
Start page 67
End page 74
Total pages 8
Publisher Pergamon Press
Abstract Despite researchers considering time of day an important variable in studies on implicit food evaluations and food intake, time of day effects on implicit food evaluations have yet to be tested. Positive implicit evaluations of unhealthy food stimuli measured with an implicit association test (IAT) predict behaviour toward those stimuli, and are assumed to reflect automatic reactions outside of conscious awareness and control. However, recent research has revealed controlled processing to have an influence on IAT performance. The current study tested time of day effects on implicit evaluations of unhealthy food measured with an IAT, and specifically on automatic and controlled processes underlying IAT performance. A sample of 304 undergraduate women aged 17-25 years completed a single-category IAT at varying times of the day. Results revealed that participation later in the day was associated with a more positive implicit evaluation of unhealthy food. This was mediated by a decrease in the ability to inhibit positive food reactions (i.e., controlled processing), rather than an increase in automatic positive reactions. The findings draw attention to the importance of considering time of day in studies measuring aspects of implicit cognition using tasks such as the IAT.
Subject Educational Psychology
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Sport and Exercise Psychology
Keyword(s) Implicit association test
Implicit food evaluations
Process dissociation procedure
Self-control
Time of day
Unhealthy snack food
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.07.004
Copyright notice © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ISSN 0950-3293
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