Health representations, perceived valence, and concept associations for symbols as food cues: A mixed-methods approach
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AbstractResearchers have experimented with a range of point-of-purchase (PoP) interventions in supermarkets, restaurants, and cafeterias. In general, these interventions have employed written materials. This research tested symbols to visually summarize information about the (un)healthiness of food. Study one explored health representations and valence associated with the image of a heart, a bathroom scale, and a running shoe using qualitative field interviews (N = 1200). Study two explored accessibility of a priori concept associations for two of those images, stratified by valence, in a computerized response latency task (N = 40). Study one indicted that the heart was best linked to its intended theme "heart health." Concerning valence, the heart was seen as both positive and negative whereas the scale was less likely to be viewed as positive relative to the running shoe. In study two, the heart was linked to five of the six a priori concepts and there was evidence that three of these were more accessible. Overall, the heart was better linked to positive poles than negative ones. A heart symbol may be useful to prompt heart healthy choices at the PoP. There was evidence that a scale may bias choice away from undesirable foods.
CitationThomas, E.M., Ribera, A.P., Senye-Mir, A., & Eves, F.F. (2016). Health Representations, Perceived Valence, and Concept Associations for Symbols as Food Cues: A Mixed-Methods Approach. Health communication, 31 (11), pp 1421-1425.
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