The messy satiation effect: Understanding how eating messily can accelerate the rate of satiation and reduce consumption

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The visual presentation of food plays an important role in shaping the food choices that consumers make. In the current research, we explore the impact that one's eating manner, and by extension, how messy or neat food becomes as a result, can have on enjoyment and consumption over the course of an eating episode. In a series of five studies, we find that eating in a messy manner, which degrades the visual appeal of one's food, can accelerate the rate of satiation and decrease consumption, a phenomenon we term the messy satiation effect. This effect occurs because the disgust response induced by the visual degradation of a food's presentation decreases tastiness perceptions. Accordingly, we position the messy satiation effect as a simple intervention that can be used in some circumstances to combat overconsumption and therefore increase healthier eating patterns through reducing intake, thus providing contributions to both theory and practice.

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