September 2017
Volume 17, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2017
Which Cereal Bar? Choose or Reject, does it Matter?
Author Affiliations
  • Ester Reijnen
    Zurich University of Applied Sciences
  • Swen Kühne
    Zurich University of Applied Sciences
  • Jeremy Wolfe
    Brigham & Women's Hospital / Harvard Medical School
Journal of Vision August 2017, Vol.17, 1232. doi:10.1167/17.10.1232
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      Ester Reijnen, Swen Kühne, Jeremy Wolfe; Which Cereal Bar? Choose or Reject, does it Matter?. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1232. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1232.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Food in several European countries is labeled with traffic light labels: Simple color-coding labels sugar, fat, saturated fat, and salt content (e.g., green = low). How do observers use this information to make decisions? Two cereal bars, labeled as containing equal calories, were presented. One had two red (bad) and two green (good) traffic lights. The other had four neutral, orange lights. 605 observers were asked to choose between the two or to reject one of the two: Obviously, the same 2AFC choice in both cases. If the red/green bar is chosen over the all-orange bar on X% of trials, it should be rejected on 100%-X% of trials. However, when the sugar was colored green, the red/green bar was chosen 64% of the time on choose trials but rejected in favor of the orange bar 55% of the time on reject trials (64% + 55%=119% > 100%, z = 3.14; p < .001). That is, the red/green bar was bought more often in the choose than in the reject condition (64% vs. 45%, z = 3.07; p < .01). If sugar was red, the situation is reversed: red/green bar chosen only 21% but 35% of the time on reject trials (21% + 35%=56% < 100%, z = 7.18; p < .001). That is, the red/green bar was selected less often in the choose than in the reject condition (21% vs. 65%, z = 7.35; p < .001). Since both bars have equal calories, they should be bought with equal probability. However, two factors interact to shape behavior. Observers are swayed by the good / bad label on sugar and they avoid vivid red/green information when asked to reject while favoring the vivid information when asked to choose. Knowledge of these rules can be used to shape consumer behavior.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017

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