The Role of Visual Attention in Preference Formation for Food

Abstract

Evaluative decision-making is the decision-making based on personal preferences among different choice options. Previous studies have suggested that people tend to gradually commit toward a choice by spending more time looking at it. Thus, attention may imply a positive feedback mechanism, promoting the choice of an attended item. Alternatively, attention may imply information integration, with either enhanced or decreased valuation of the attended option, depending on the information that is being integrated. In the present study, we aim to disambiguate the role of attention by examining the effects of spatial and emotional cues on the decision-making among different food choices. We use a strictly controlled spatial-cueing paradigm, in which cues will either be an abstract symbol (a circle), or an emotional logo (smiley face or sad face). The latter type of cue may produce a semantic priming effect. The cues are followed by a choice display with a pair of food images from the same category, and participants are asked to indicate their preference. We varied the stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) to either facilitate attention to a cued option ('exogenous attention', at short intervals between cue and choice display) or inhibit attention to a cued option ('inhibition of return', at long intervals between cue and choice display). We hypothesize that the cues can create a bias for or against the cued choice option, either promoting or disturbing the process of preference formation depending on the allocation of attention and the emotional valence of the cue.



Author Information
Ji Xu, Kyushu University, Japan
Noha Mohsen Zommara, Kyushu University, Japan
Johan Lauwereyns, Kyushu University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACP2016
Stream: Linguistics, Language & Psychology/Behavioral Science

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