A nudge in a healthier direction: How environmental cues help restrained eaters pursue their weight-control goal

Stämpfli, Aline; Stöckli, Sabrina; Brunner, Thomas (2017). A nudge in a healthier direction: How environmental cues help restrained eaters pursue their weight-control goal. Appetite, 110(110), pp. 94-102. Elsevier 10.1016/j.appet.2016.11.037

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Losing weight is a goal for many people, but it is hard to pursue. However, dieting cues in the Environment hold promise for improving individuals' eating behavior. For example, exposure to thin, humanlike sculptures by the artist Alberto Giacometti has been found to promote healthy snack choices at a vending machine. Whether health- or weight-related processes drive such effects has not yet been determined. However, a detailed understanding of the content-related drivers of environmental cues' effects provides the first indications regarding a cue's possible use. Therefore, two laboratory studies were conducted. They examined the Giacometti sculptures' effects on unhealthy and healthy food intake (Study 1) and on the completion of weight- and health-related fragmented words (Study 2). Study 1 indicated that the sculptures are weight-related by showing that they reduced food intake Independent of food healthiness. Furthermore, the “Giacometti effect” was moderated by restrained eating. Restrained eaters, who are known for their weight-control goal, ate less after having been exposed to the thin sculptures. The results of Study 2 pointed in the same direction. Restrained eaters completed more weight-related words after being exposed to the sculptures. Overall, these studies suggest that the thin sculptures are primarily weight-related cues and particularly helpful for restrained eaters. Environmental weight-control cues such as the Giacometti sculptures could act as a counterforce to our obesogenic environment and help restrained eaters pursue their weight-control goal. In this way, they could nudge food decisions in a healthier direction.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Business Management > Institute of Innovation Management > Consumer Behavior

UniBE Contributor:

Stämpfli, Aline; Stöckli, Sabrina and Brunner, Thomas


600 Technology > 650 Management & public relations








Daniela Lüdi

Date Deposited:

23 Mar 2017 13:07

Last Modified:

01 Dec 2018 02:30

Publisher DOI:






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