Using aversive images to enhance healthy food choices and implicit attitudes: An experimental test of evaluative conditioning.

Hollands (2011)
Summary by 

To examine the effect of communicating images of energy-dense snack foods paired with aversive images of the potential health consequences of unhealthy eating, on implicit and explicit attitudes and food choice behavior. Participants were randomly allocated to either an evaluative conditioning (EC) procedure that paired images of snack foods with images of potential adverse health consequences or a control condition that featured images of snack foods alone. Implicit attitudes were assessed pre- and post-intervention. Explicit attitudes and food choice behavior were assessed post-intervention. The conditioning intervention made implicit attitudes toward energy-dense snacks more negative, with this effect greatest in those with relatively more favorable implicit attitudes toward these snacks at baseline. Participants in the conditioning intervention were more likely to choose fruit rather than snacks in a behavioral choice task, a relationship mediated by changes in implicit attitudes. Presenting aversive images of potential health consequences with those of specific foodstuffs can change implicit attitudes, which impacts on subsequent food choice behavior.