Friends are not to be eaten: Children are reluctant to eat cookies that share physical and psychological human features due to their desire to relate to the food

Aleksandra Niemyjska , Katarzyna Myślińska-Szarek , Katarzyna Cantarero


Children's food marketers very often use anthropomorphism in advertising as if it is an effective technique aimed at increasing food consumption. However, the evidence supporting this effect is mixed. In this research, we propose that while a food product's humanlike appearance (physical anthropomorphism) may increase consumption, attribution of mental states and emotions (psychological anthropomorphism) to a physically anthropomorphized food product discourages consumption because it facilitates the formation of a social-like relationship with the food. In two studies, we tested this prediction on samples of children. Preschoolers (N = 91 and N = 97) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions in which they were presented with a cookie that was both physically and psychologically anthropomorphized, physically anthropomorphized only, or not anthropomorphized. In two studies, we observed whether children left alone with the cookie would consume it and how quickly it would happen. Additionally, in Study 2, we asked children about their desire to relate to the cookie. The results confirmed that physical anthropomorphism accompanied by psychological anthropomorphism considerably reduced consumption of the cookies compared to both mere physical anthropomorphism and non-anthropomorphism. Moreover, the reduced appetite for cookies that were physically and psychologically anthropomorphized was mediated by the desire to relate to them. We discuss the implications of these results.
Author Aleksandra Niemyjska (Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie)
Aleksandra Niemyjska,,
- Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie
, Katarzyna Myślińska-Szarek (Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie)
Katarzyna Myślińska-Szarek,,
- Wydzial Psychologii w Sopocie
, Katarzyna Cantarero (Filia we Wrocławiu / Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu)
Katarzyna Cantarero,,
- Wydział Psychologii we Wrocławiu
Journal seriesAppetite, ISSN 0195-6663, e-ISSN 1095-8304, (N/A 100 pkt)
Issue year2021
Publication size in sheets0.5
Article number105121
Keywords in EnglishAnthropomorphism; Cookie consumption; Preschool children
ASJC Classification2916 Nutrition and Dietetics; 3200 General Psychology
Languageen angielski
friends_tekst.pdf 2.4 MB
Additional file
Friends_oswiadczenie-Cantarero.pdf 113.79 KB
Oświadczenie Niemyjska Friends are not_20210218.pdf 462.79 KB
oświadczenie Myślińska Friends are not.pdf 377.2 KB
Score (nominal)100
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 1.363; WoS Impact Factor: 2018 = 3.501 (2) - 2018=4.077 (5)
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