Exposure to television food advertising primes food-related cognitions and triggers motivation to eat

Eva Kemps, Marika Tiggemann, Sarah Hollitt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: This study investigated the effect of exposure to television food advertising on accessibility of food-related cognitions and motivation to eat.Design and main outcome measures: We initially developed a word stem completion task to measure accessibility of food-related cognitions. In two subsequent experiments, 160 female undergraduate students (Experiment 1) and 124 overweight or obese community-dwelling women (Experiment 2) viewed a series of television commercials advertising either food or non-food products. They then completed the word stem task and also rated their desire to eat.Results: Exposure to televised food advertisements led to the completion of word stems with more food- and eating-related words in both experiments. It also increased self-reported desire to eat, but only for overweight and obese individuals (Experiment 2). In both samples, there was a positive association between accessibility of food-related cognitions and reported desire to eat, following priming with television food advertisements.Conclusion: We conclude that an increased activation of food-related cognitions may provide a mechanism for the link between food advertising and consumption. This has implications for tackling pathological (over)eating.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1192-1205
    Number of pages14
    JournalPsychology and Health
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - Oct 2014


    • food cognitions
    • motivation to eat
    • obesity
    • priming
    • television food advertising
    • word stem completion task


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