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I'll Have What She's Having: Effects of Social Influence and

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Ursula O'Dwyer

on 4 April 2014

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Transcript of I'll Have What She's Having: Effects of Social Influence and

I'll Have What She's Having: Effects of Social Influence and Body Type on the Food Choices of Others

What is the objective of the arcticle?
What Theories/Literature are discussed to build the story?
The four main theories used to inform and build the hypothesis of McFerran et al are:
1. Anchor and Adjustment
2. Social Influence and Food Choices
3. Obesity and Consumption
4. Perceived Healthiness of Food Choices.
Research Methods
Study One
Reflections and conclusions
How does it relate to what we already know?
Eating Habits - how they are comparitive/ relative to a person's social surroundings
Reference groups: associative and dissassociative groups
Prevalent within younger audiences.

Did you find the argument convincing on its own terms?
Established both internal and external influences.
Splitting the concept into varied sub-topics the argument is very clear.
Inter-relation between anchors and contextual adjustments is convincing in defining consumer psychology.

Given what you know about the subject, you think the main points might be correct even if the argument was not convincing?
Yes. Information (eg, use of variables, covariance analysis) reiterates core points
Both singular and comparative, allowing for unbiased conclusions.

Can you think of info that makes you doubt the main point(s), even if the article was argued well?
Lacking in consistency- males vs. females. .
The information is heavily focused on self esteem/image, rather than obesity and how to negate the risks of negative outcomes.
Observing another consumer choose a larger (or small portion will result in you doing likewise. This effect is different according to the body type (thin vs heavy) of the other consumer

People use a quantity threshold set up by others to determine how much they should select themselves but also adjust from this depending on who the other consumer is (thin or heavy).

People Look to what others are eating to determine how much they will eat

It has shown that consumers can mimic those around them in a consumption setting without thinking how much is appropriate to consume.
How does this inform your group project:
Incorporating the journal into our marketing problem:
We may create awareness of some of this issues raised in the journal to try and change consumer behaviour towards a more conscience portion decision.
The Article recommends consumers need to be aware of when they are susceptible to over consumption due to the influence of others.
DANGER ZONE: when in the presence of 'thin' person who chooses a large quantity of food. We therefore may consider creating awareness of this fact to reduce fast food portion sizes
The journal findings are in line with previous research that states - people are more likely to eat larger than normal when in the presence of others who do likewise. We need to ensure they are eating HEALTHY large portions.
We may want to consider the body sizes of the people we use in our advertisement.
Study Two
Hypothesis: Consumers will Adjust upward following a small anchor, but that the size of this adjustment will be moderated by the group status of the other consumer. As a result consumers will consume more after seeing an obese (vs a thin) consumer choosing a small portion.
Study Three
Only when ample processing resources are available should we see an adjustment effect based on body type.
Author predicted that there is a 3 way interaction between weight, appearance self esteem (ASE) and cognitive load.
When processing resources, we expect that neither the weight of the other consumer or ASE will have an effect on participants' food choices
Brent McFerran
Darren W. Dahl
Gavan J. Fitzsimons
Andrea C. Morales

The objective of the article is to demonstrate through research the extent to which the body type of consumers affects the food choices and level of consumption of other consumers around them. McFerran et al. argue that consumers anchor on the choices and portion size of what other consumers around them choose. In other words, what choice of portion size a consumer will choose if they follow an obese vs. a thin consumer.
Findings and Implications to us,
as Marketers
Study 1 was designed to test the propositions of Anchoring and Adjusting process based on body type of the consumer to examine whether the model might be bounded within healthy food
Experiment done by 95 undergraduate females at University of British Columbia
Candidates given a choice of M&Ms vs Granola and were monitored using a ruse* of watching a 5 minute film clip
Candidates answered a questionnaire - including dummy questions about the film,room, a restrained eating scale, their height & weight, manipulation checks and a suspicion probe
115 female undergraduates from university of British Columbia
7 different types of candies available
Candidate views the 'dummy actor' picking her snacks but was then left 'alone' to pick their candies for themselves
173 undergraduate students (118 males, 55 females) from Arizona State university.
First cognitive load was tested through being given a number to memorize and told that it would be needed later, then they were given a scenario about ice cream flavours, various sizes and were told to make a hypothetical choice.
Following this was the number recall and a number of dummy questions about the ice cream scenario, scales measuring restrained eating and ASE and basic demographic information.
Anchor and Adjustment
Model of Purchase Quantity (Wasink, Kent and Hoch 1998)
Consumption choices are Dependent on other situational factors (Epley, Gilovich 2006; Jackowitz and Kahneman 1995; Plous 1993)

Social Influence and Food Choices
People are influenced by those who are physically present even if they dont interact with the consumer in any way (Argo, Dahl, and Manchanda 2005)
Those who would eat a larger portion alone, eat less in front of others and vice versa with those who would eat less (Bell and Pliner 2003)

Obesity and Consumption
priming people with images of overweight (but not obese) people led to an overall increase in consumption (Campbell and Mohr 2008)
Aspiration or Disassociative group theory (Berger and Heath 2007)

Perceived Healthiness of Food Choices
Consumers associate losing weight with eating 'good' or 'right' food rather than having appropriate portion sizes or control (Antonuk and Block 2006)
Research byt Wansink 2006, suggests that portion control is equal to if not more important than choice of food.
How does it relate to your marketing problem:
Consumer interviews found that students are likely to purchase fast food in a social context
Students will be influenced when ordering fast food by quantities chosen by friends or other customers when ordering.
Can reduce the negative outcomes of junk food by reducing the quantity students order
Rate of obesity in tertiary aged students is increasing and consequently our target market will be highly likely to be exposed to eating with obese individuals. The journal found that if an individual see an obese person order a large portion they are more likely to eat a smaller than normal portion.
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