Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Advisor/Committee Chair

Martha Niemiec, M.A.

Committee Member

Julie Hormes, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Laurie Feldman, Ph.D


Food cravings are experienced by a large proportion of the population and have a variety of negative implications- including overweight/ obesity, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Prior research has shown a lack of support for biological causes of craving. As such, we look to other factors such as culture, cognition, and sex, to explore why such factors have an influence on craving. The purpose of this study is to look at the impact of viewing thin ideal images on chocolate cravings in United States born women-including (but not restricted to) their reports of ambivalence towards chocolate. Participants were randomized to view a slideshow containing images of either shoes or women fitting the ‘thin ideal’ (both conjunction with chocolate imagery) which is valued in the U.S. Participants in both conditions were also exposed to sensory chocolate cues, in the form of a craving induction and a taste test. We assessed the cognitive factors of mood, craving intensity, different aspects of the craving experience, and the behavioral factor of dietary restraint. We predicted that women in the condition exposed to thin ideal imagery in conjunction with chocolate cues would experience more ambivalence, and as a result have stronger cravings for chocolate. Our results showed a statistically non- significant, but still interesting, increase in feelings of desire to eat chocolate and increase in fear of losing control while eating in those exposed to the thin ideal. There was also a significant inverse correlation between ratings of sweet craving intensity and amount of chocolates taken home from the lab. Results support our hypothesis that women who view this imagery experience feelings of ambivalence towards chocolate.

Included in

Psychology Commons