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The effect of spatial location of calorie information on choice, consumption and eye movements.

Authors
  • Robertson, Deirdre A1
  • Lunn, Peter D2
  • 1 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin, Ireland; School of Psychology, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address: [email protected] , (Ireland)
  • 2 Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), Dublin, Ireland; Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. , (Ireland)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Appetite
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2020
Volume
144
Pages
104446–104446
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2019.104446
PMID: 31505220
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

We manipulated the presence and spatial location of calorie labels on menus while tracking eye movements. A novel "lab-in-the-field" experimental design allowed eye movements to be recorded while participants chose lunch from a menu, unaware that their choice was part of a study. Participants exposed to calorie information ordered 93 fewer calories (11%) relative to a control group who saw no calorie labels. The difference in number of calories consumed was greater still. The impact was strongest when calorie information was displayed just to the right of the price, in an equivalent font. The effects were mediated by knowledge of the amount of calories in the meal, implying that calorie posting led to more informed decision-making. There was no impact on enjoyment of the meal. The eye-tracking data suggested that the spatial arrangement altered individuals' search strategies while viewing the menu. This research suggests that the spatial location of calories on menus may be an important consideration when designing calorie posting legislation and policy. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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