Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Fear, Peer Pressure, or Encouragement: Identifying Levers for Nudging Towards Healthier Food Choices in Multi-Cultural Singapore

Version 1 : Received: 26 November 2021 / Approved: 29 November 2021 / Online: 29 November 2021 (18:30:30 CET)

How to cite: Wan, K.; Choo, B.J.; Chan, K.; Yeo, J.Y.; Tan, C.S.; Quek, B.; Gan, S.K. Fear, Peer Pressure, or Encouragement: Identifying Levers for Nudging Towards Healthier Food Choices in Multi-Cultural Singapore. Preprints 2021, 2021110551 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0551.v1). Wan, K.; Choo, B.J.; Chan, K.; Yeo, J.Y.; Tan, C.S.; Quek, B.; Gan, S.K. Fear, Peer Pressure, or Encouragement: Identifying Levers for Nudging Towards Healthier Food Choices in Multi-Cultural Singapore. Preprints 2021, 2021110551 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202111.0551.v1).

Abstract

With roots beyond behavioural economics to psychology, nudges can be applied for influencing healthy behaviours such as food choice and portions to decrease obesity for better public health outcomes. However, the effectiveness of the type of nudges are contentious with conflicting literature. In this pilot study, we conducted a 23-day study surveying the food choices that included portion, locus of control, demographic data, and psychological measures of personality, perceived stress, narcissism, regulatory focus, food choice motive and dietary restraint, with the participants given four intervention conditions of 12 instant messaging sent every two days through WhatsApp. The messages were either factual (control), focused on consequences, through social comparison, or persuasive. Running over the COVID19 pandemic, 17 participants completed the full surveys showing significant effects between the experimental conditions with the psychological parameters except for diet confidence and extraversion and conscientiousness, as well as cognitive restraint. We found BMI and waistline measurements to be suitable measurements, with promising results from the fear and social comparison nudges for food-related behaviours and exercise. Our pilot findings have implications to the use of nudges upon which future studies investigating psychological factors can build on.

Keywords

nudges; diet; healthy living; instant messaging; digital interventions

Subject

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Applied Psychology

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