Date of Award

8-2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Muth, Eric R

Committee Member

Hoover , Adam

Committee Member

Alley , Thomas

Abstract

According to a recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, overweight and obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States (Flegal et at., 2010, NHANES, 2010) There are many treatments for overweight and obesity, the most popular being behavioral interventions (Berkel et al., 2005). Self-monitoring is one of the most important factors of successful behavioral interventions (Baker & Kirschenbaum, 1993). The Bite Counter is a newly developed tool for weight loss that aids in the self-monitoring process (Dong et al., 2011). The purpose of the current study was to determine if bite count feedback and an instruction on the number of bites to take could overcome the known environmental cue of plate size where eating from larger plates causes individuals to eat more (Wansink 2004). Data were collected from 112 participants eating a meal of macaroni and cheese in a laboratory setting. In a 2x2 design, the participants were assigned to one of four conditions: instruction given and small plate, instruction given and large plate, instruction not given and small plate, or instruction not given and large plate. Grams consumed and bites taken were measured post meal as the main dependent variables. A 2x2 ANOVA of grams consumed revealed a main effect of INSTRUCTION (F(1,104)= 5.297, p=.023, η² = .048) such that those given an instruction to take 22 bites consumed more macaroni and cheese, a main effect of PLATE SIZE (F(1,104)= 5.798, p=.018, η² = .053) such that those eating from a large plate consumed more macaroni and cheese, and an interaction (F(1,104)= 7.695, p= .007, η² = .069) such that the given instruction partially overcame the effect of plate size on grams consumed. A 2x2 ANOVA of bites taken revealed a main effect of INSTRUCTION (F(1,104)= 7.47, p= .007, η² = .067) such that those given an instruction to take 22 bites took more bites, a main effect of PLATE SIZE (F(1,104)= 14.264, p< .001, η² = .121) such that those eating from a large plate took more bites , and an interaction (F(1,104)= 14.964, p< .001, η² = .126) such that the given instruction partially overcame the effect of plate size on number of bites taken . The results suggest that a given instruction on the number of bites to take along with feedback on the number of bites taken, can partially overcome a known environmental cue of plate size.

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