Food and sex: How "everything in moderation" and fertility hormones non-consciously affect consumer choice




Rae, Ashley

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A large amount of consumption decisions occur without conscious awareness. This research investigates two factors that non-consciously influence consumption choice: 1) the influence of the concept "everything in moderation" on consumption preferences and 2) the influence of fertility hormones on preferences for variety seeking.

Although advocating the practice of "everything in moderation" is common advice, there is relatively little research on how the concept "everything in moderation" impacts food preferences, actual consumption, and in particular how individual differences might influence this impact. This research explores the influence of the concept "everything in moderation" on actual consumption and preferences. I provide evidence that activation of the concept "everything in moderation" increases preference and actual consumption for healthier food choices for low self-control individuals, but ironically increases preferences and actual consumption for indulgent choices for high self-control individuals.

There is also a growing body of research on how variation in hormone levels non-consciously guide human decision-making and behavior. In this research, I expand upon these findings and apply them to the realm of variety seeking in order to examine whether the hormones associated with the monthly ovulatory cycle shift women's desire for variety in the marketplace. Findings show that ovulating women have increased preference for variety in consumer product choice.


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hormones, self-control