The presence of variety increases the quantity of food a person wants and consumes. A recent review of past literature (Remick, Polivy, & Pliner, 2009) concludes that although external factors influence this effect of variety, internal factors do not seem to affect it. We identify general self-control as an internal factor that moderates the effects of variety in food. A series of three studies demonstrates that lower trait self-control makes one more susceptible to the variety effect, showing both greater increases in choice regarding the quantity of consumption and desire for more food in the presence of variety. Compared to those with low self-control, people with high self-control experience reduced enjoyment for a variety of foods following consumption of one food. This increased satiation would serve to diminish the variety effect and facilitate positive health outcomes over time.
- Dietary intake
- Hedonic consumption