Consumers Beware: Incidental Curiosity Can Lead to Unhealthy Eating

  • By Niki Gianakaris
woman in front of blackboard

From movie trailers and show cliffhangers to sporting events and ads, consumers are constantly bombarded with stimuli that trigger their curiosity. Super Bowl LIV on February 2 was no exception to that, but what most don’t know is that the curiosity triggered from these million-dollar ad campaigns can lead to unhealthy food choices.

In a recent paper published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, Chen Wang, PhD, assistant professor of marketing, explored how, why and when incidental curiosity might influence consumers’ unhealthy eating behaviors. According to Wang, most of the market research on curiosity has focused on the effects of curiosity on consumers’ information-seeking behaviors in an attempt to close the knowledge gap but not on how curiosity can affect their eating habits.

“The premise is that curiosity will prompt consumers to make unhealthy food choices,” said Wang. “This is likely to occur because curiosity, as a form of cognitive deprivation, triggers a motivation to approach rewarding outcomes. Because consumers usually perceive unhealthy food as more satisfying and rewarding such reward-seeking induced curiosity encourages them to make unhealthy choices.”

Read more on the Drexel News Blog.

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