Food intake norms increase and decrease snack food intake in a remote confederate study

Eric Robinson, Helen Benwell, Suzanne Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
198 Downloads (Pure)


Social factors have been reported to influence food intake. In the remote confederate paradigm, naive participants are led to believe that previous study participants have consumed a small or large amount of food. To date, there has been no demonstration using this paradigm that information about how much previous participants eat (food intake norms) both increase and decrease food intake in the same study. In the present experiment, we tested 64 undergraduate psychology students using a remote confederate design. We investigated the effect of both a high intake and low intake norm on food intake under the same conditions. We also tested whether a variable shown previously to predict food intake matching amongst eating partners (trait empathy) predicted the influence of food intake norms on intake. Compared with a no norm control condition, leading participants to believe that the intake norm was to eat a lot of cookies increased cookie intake and leading participants to believe the intake norm was to eat few cookies reduced intake. Trait empathy did not moderate the influence of food intake norms on consumption. These findings add to evidence that perceived intake norms exert strong bi-directional effects on food intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-4
Number of pages5
Early online date1 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Adult
  • Attitude to Health
  • Diet
  • Empathy
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Snacks
  • Social Environment
  • Social Values
  • Young Adult


Dive into the research topics of 'Food intake norms increase and decrease snack food intake in a remote confederate study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this