Vicarious goal fulfillment: When the mere presence of a healthy option leads to an ironically indulgent decision

Journal Article (Journal Article)

This research examines how consumers' food choices differ when healthy items are included in a choice set compared with when they are not available. Results demonstrate that individuals are, ironically, more likely to make indulgent food choices when a healthy item is available compared to when it is not available. The influence of the healthy item on indulgent choice is stronger for those with higher levels of self-control. Support is found for a goal-activation-based explanation for these findings, whereby the mere presence of the healthy food option vicariously fulfills nutrition-related goals and provides consumers with a license to indulge. © 2009 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wilcox, K; Vallen, B; Block, L; Fitzsimons, GJ

Published Date

  • October 1, 2009

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 36 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 380 - 393

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0093-5301

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/599219

Citation Source

  • Scopus