Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Comfort Food Fallacy: Upheaval Leads To Less-familiar Choices

Date:
September 22, 2009
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
You'd think in times of uncertainty, people would gravitate toward familiar favorites. But a new study shows that stress and upheaval actually lead people to choose less-familiar foods over "comfort foods."

You'd think in times of uncertainty, people would gravitate toward familiar favorites. But a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that stress and upheaval actually lead people to choose less-familiar foods over "comfort foods."

Related Articles


"Most of us can name our favorite 'comfort foods' and believe that we are most prone to seek them out during times of stress and upheaval," writes author Stacy Wood (University of South Carolina). "Contrary to this well-engrained belief, this research shows the surprising result that our choices of old favorites happen at the opposite times that we predict."

In the first study, participants were told about a person who was described as either being in an extremely stable life situation or in the midst of many changes. Researchers asked them to predict whether these people would choose a popular American potato chip or an unknown British potato "crisp" in exotic flavors like Camembert and Plum. The participants thought the stable person would have more time and energy to try new things and would choose the new item.

Then in a separate choice study, researchers asked participants to rate the level of change in their own lives and then to choose snacks. Those experiencing more change chose the newer snacks. "This result is called the 'comfort food fallacy' effect. It does not say that comfort foods are not enjoyable, but rather that we don't seem to seek them out when we think we do. Contrary to our expectations, comfort foods appear to be chosen more often in comfortable times."

The results also carried over to non-food options, such as song downloads and movies. And, in a final study, the author found that by manipulating the perceived level of change in a person's life, the likelihood of choosing a new item was also manipulated.

The study has broad implications for people contemplating life changes. "Many people believe they shouldn't try too many new things at once. For example, they may believe that a time of change is not a good time to start a new exercise program. This research suggests that a time of change (new job, new town, new situation) may be an ideal time to adopt desired changes because we are inherently more open to new options then," Wood concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Stacy Wood. The Comfort Food Fallacy: Avoiding Old Favorites in Times of Change. Journal of Consumer Research, 2009; 090908155224023 DOI: 10.1086/644749

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Comfort Food Fallacy: Upheaval Leads To Less-familiar Choices." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921162148.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2009, September 22). Comfort Food Fallacy: Upheaval Leads To Less-familiar Choices. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921162148.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Comfort Food Fallacy: Upheaval Leads To Less-familiar Choices." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090921162148.htm (accessed April 19, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Dr. Oz Under Fire For 'Quack Treatments' Yet Again

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) Ten doctors signed a letter urging Columbia University to drop Dr. Oz as vice chair of its department of surgery, saying he plugs "quack" treatments. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

WikiLeaks Refuses To Let Sony Hack Die, Posts Database

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2015) WikiLeaks&apos; Julian Assange says the hacked emails and documents "belong in the public domain." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Cybercrime Could Cost $400 Bln

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 16, 2015) Representatives from around 160 countries gather at the Hague to discuss cyber space and cyber security, including the dilemmas and challenges regarding the evolution of the internet. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins