Promote healthy eating: feed folks false beliefs

Rowan Hooper:

Loftus and colleagues gave 228 undergraduate students food questionnaires. The test subjects subsequently received feedback they falsely believed was personalised and had been generated by a sophisticated computer program. The feedback told them they had become ill eating fattening foods – strawberry ice cream and chocolate chip cookies – as a child.

The bluff led a substantial minority to believe they had felt ill after eating the ice cream – but not the cookies. The researchers think the suggestion did not work for the cookies because cookies are a more commonly eaten snack.

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