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 December 19, 2014 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 December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
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