Food for thought: the effect of counterfactual thinking on the use of nutrition information



In three experiments, we examine the efficacy of counterfactual thinking (CFT) as a strategy to enhance consumers' motivation to process and use nutrition information on food packages. In the first study, we test whether CFT leads to greater motivation to process nutrition label information in the process of forming product attitudes. We also test whether motivation mediates the relationship between CFT and the influence of the nutrition label in product evaluation. In a second study, we test the effect of upward versus downward CFT on motivation. We also examine whether nutrition information on food packages moderates the relationship between CFT and product attitudes. In a third study, we examined the duration of the motivational effect of CFT. Results from the three studies support the role of CFT as a mechanism that enhances consumers' motivation to elaborate on and use nutrition information to form product attitudes. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.