The psychology of drinking behaviour: The role of consumption and reward simulations and habitual behaviour
M. Almudena Claassen (University of Glasgow)
Abstract. How do people cognitively represent appetitive stimuli? How do these representations affect motivation to consume, and how do they interact with habitual drinking behaviour?
In three experiments (total N = 457), we asked participants to describe non-alcoholic drinks in a “feature listing task”, a free production task to assess cognitive representations of concepts through natural language. We also measured consumption frequency, desire to drink, and intake (Exp. 3), and we measured (Exp. 1 and 2) or manipulated (Exp. 3) thirst. Participants heavily described drinks with words related to consumption and reward experiences, especially sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and especially when consumed frequently. Consumption and reward features predicted desire and intake, more strongly than thirst.
Then, we examined the impact of a COVID-19 lockdown in England on habitual consumption of SSBs. The lockdown created a naturalistic change in context because it removed typical SSB consumption situations (e.g., going out). In two surveys among the same participants (N = 211, N = 160), we found that while participants reported fewer occasions of drinking SSBs during lockdown (Time 2) compared to before (Time 1) and after (Time 3), the daily amount of SSBs consumed increased during lockdown, compared to before and after. These findings suggest that SSB consumption is easily transferred to other situations when the consumption context changes, especially for individuals with strong consumption habits.
Together these findings suggest that consumption and reward presentations play a key role in beverage consumption, and that understanding these representations may be crucial in behaviour change interventions.
The seminar will take place on site, as well as online in this virtual seminar room.