Super Size Me: the Social Influence of Obese Consumers on the Food Choices of Others

Brent McFerran, University of British Columbia, Canada
Darren Dahl, University of British Columbia, Canada
Gavan J. Fitzsimons, Duke University, USA
Andrea C. Morales, Arizona State University, USA
Three studies examine how other people’s food consumption is influenced by both the presence of and food choices made by obese consumers. Study 1 shows that when a confederate first selects a large quantity of food, participants choose and consume more when the confederate is thin versus obese. However, when a confederate selects a small portion, participants choose and consume more when the confederate is obese versus thin. Study 2 demonstrates that these effects still hold even for healthy food. Study 3 shows that the effects are more pronounced for consumers with low versus high body image satisfaction and when cognitive processing resources are not constrained.
[ to cite ]:
Brent McFerran, Darren Dahl, Gavan J. Fitzsimons, and Andrea C. Morales (2009) ,"Super Size Me: the Social Influence of Obese Consumers on the Food Choices of Others", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 165-167.