Snack Intake is Reduced Using an Implicit, High- Level Construal Level Cue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


Objectives: Priming a high level construal has been shown to enhance self-control and reduce preference for indulgent food. Subtle visual cues have been shown to enhance the effects of a priming procedure. The current study therefore examined the combined impact of construal level and a visual cue reminder on the consumption of energy-dense snacks. Method: A student and community-based adult sample with a wide age and body mass index (BMI) range (N = 176) were randomly assigned to a high or low construal condition in which a novel symbol was embedded. Afterward participants completed a taste test of ad libitum snack foods in the presence or absence of the symbol. Results: The high (vs. the low) construal level prime successfully generated more abstract responses (p < .0001) and reduced intake when the cue-reminder was present (p = .02) but not when it was absent (p = .40). Conclusions: Priming high construal level thinking reduces consumption of high energy dense snacks in the presence of a visual cue-reminder. This may be a practical technique for reducing overeating and has the potential to be extended to other unhealthy behaviors.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)923-926
JournalHealth Psychology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016