The effects of diet priming and restrained eating on the choice of sweets (cheesecake and flan) were investigated by using the hypothetical questionnaire method. Participants (N=207) were first asked to write about their past altruistic behaviors (as a means of facilitating indulgent hedonic consumption). Then, the scrambled-sentence priming procedure consisting of a diet prime condition and a control condition was presented. Following this, the participants were presented with binary sweets choice sets consisting of one hedonic and one utilitarian item and instructed to select one option in each set. Participants also completed questionnaires regarding the Restrained Scale. Results indicated that participants primed with the dieting goal compared to the control condition were more likely to act on their goal and chose utilitarian consumption, which was consistent with the goal of losing weight. The priming effect was significant among restrained eaters who were highly motivated to control their weight. Moreover, the prime affected the participants independently of the status of restraint in the cheesecake selection task. These findings suggest that diet goal priming could help to achieve goals and facilitate dieting success even in tempting situations that enhanced the likelihood of an indulgent choice.
The effect of a task that encouraged participants to divide their attention between a present distractive task and previous negative events on improving negative mood and evaluation was investigated. Participants (n=24) were randomly assigned to three task groups: (A) distraction, (B) distraction while recalling negative events, and (C) recalling negative events without distraction. Then, they performed each task for 10 minutes. Negative mood and the evaluation of previous negative events were assessed after induced rumination, task engagement, and resting for two minutes. Analyses of variance indicated no significant differences in negative mood between the groups. However, groups A and B, compared to group C showed a higher reduction in the evaluation of negative events. Moreover, only group B showed a significant reduction in negative evaluation between “after task” and “after resting.” These results suggest that when a person cannot stop ruminating about negative events, distraction with recalling negative events would be more effective for improving negative evaluations than merely continuing to ruminate.