Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Why do hopeful consumers make healthier choices than happy ones?

Date:
April 20, 2011
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit, according to a new study. That's because when people feel hope, they're thinking about the future.

Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit, according to a new study. That's because when people feel hope, they're thinking about the future.
Credit: Andrea Berger / Fotolia

Happy people are more likely to eat candy bars, whereas hopeful people choose fruit, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. That's because when people feel hope, they're thinking about the future.

Related Articles


"Most of us are aware that we often fall victim to emotional eating, but how is it that we might choose unhealthy or healthy snacks when we're feeling good?" write authors Karen Page Winterich (Pennsylvania State University) and Kelly L. Haws (Texas A&M University).

Because previous research has explored how feeling sad leads to eating bad, the authors focused on the complicated relationship between positive emotions and food consumption. "We demonstrate the importance of the time frame on which the positive emotion focuses and find that positive emotions focusing on the future decrease unhealthy food consumption in the present," the authors write.

To understand why someone who is feeling positive would be more likely to choose a candy bar versus a piece of fruit, the authors teased out the difference between positive feelings that arise from thinking about the past or the present (pride and happiness) and hope, which is a more future-oriented emotion.

In the authors' first study, hopeful participants consumed fewer M&Ms than people who experienced happiness. In a second study, the authors found that consumers who were more focused on the past chose unhealthy snacks, even if they felt hope. In the third study, the researchers shifted the time frame of the positive emotion (having participants feel hopeful about the past or having them experience pride in the future). "That is, if someone is anticipating feeling proud, she prefers fewer unhealthy snacks than someone experiencing pride."

Finally, the authors compared future-focused positive emotions (hopefulness, anticipated pride) to future focused negative emotions (fear, anticipated shame). They found that the combination of positivity and future focus enhanced self-control.

"So, the next time you're feeling well, don't focus too much on all the good things in the past. Instead, keep that positive glow and focus on your future, especially all the good things you imagine to come. Your waistline will thank you!" the authors conclude.


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. Karen Page Winterich and Kelly L. Haws. Helpful Hopefulness: The Effect off Future Positive Emotions on Consumption. Journal of Consumer Research, October 2011 (published online March 18, 2011) [link]

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why do hopeful consumers make healthier choices than happy ones?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111439.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2011, April 20). Why do hopeful consumers make healthier choices than happy ones?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 28, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111439.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Why do hopeful consumers make healthier choices than happy ones?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419111439.htm (accessed January 28, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Poultry Culled in Taiwan to Thwart Bird Flu

Reuters - News Video Online (Jan. 28, 2015) Taiwan culls over a million poultry in efforts to halt various strains of avian flu. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

Shark Bite Victim Making Amazing Recovery

AP (Jan. 27, 2015) A Texas woman who lost more than five pounds of flesh to a shark in the Bahamas earlier this month could be released from a Florida hospital soon. Experts believe she was bitten by a bull shark while snorkeling. (Jan. 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Shoveling Snow: How to Prevent Back Injuries

Washington Post (Jan. 26, 2015) What&apos;s the proper technique for shoveling snow? A physical therapist offers specific tips for protecting your back while you dig out this winter. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

Ebola Mistakes Should Serve a Lesson Says WHO

AFP (Jan. 25, 2015) The World Health Organization&apos;s chief on Sunday admitted the UN agency had been caught napping on Ebola, saying it should serve a lesson to avoid similar mistakes in future. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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