The effect of television advertising on soft drink consumption: Individual vulnerabilities in approach bias and inhibitory control

Eva Kemps, Marika Tiggemann, Amber Tuscharski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Continual exposure to soft drink cues in the environment is thought to be a major contributor to the rising consumption of soft drinks. This study investigated the effect of one such cue, television advertising, on soft drink choice and intake. Within the context of dual-process models, we examined whether any such effects would be stronger for individuals with an automatic tendency to reach for soft drinks (approach bias) or a difficulty resisting soft drinks (poor inhibitory control). Participants (N = 127; 18–25 years) viewed television advertisements for either soft drinks or control (non-sweetened) beverages. Approach bias and inhibitory control were assessed by soft drink versions of the approach-avoidance and go/no-go tasks, respectively. Participants who had viewed the soft drink advertisements were more likely to choose a soft drink as their first drink than those who had viewed the control advertisements. This effect was stronger for participants with an approach bias for soft drinks. In addition, participants with poorer inhibitory control chose more soft drinks overall following the soft drink advertisements. Although exposure to soft drink advertisements did not affect soft drink intake in the taste test, participants with poorer inhibitory control consumed more of the soft drinks. In line with dual-process models, individuals with strong automatic tendencies or poor self-regulatory control were more responsive to television advertising for soft drinks. At a practical level, these cognitive vulnerabilities provide potential targets for intervention to help resist soft drink cues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105300
Number of pages7
JournalAppetite
Volume165
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

Keywords

  • Approach bias
  • Choice
  • Consumption
  • Dual-process models
  • Inhibitory control
  • Soft drinks
  • Television advertising

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