Can Thanksgiving dinner make you less impulsive?

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Consumers’ impulsive choices have traditionally been attributed either to contextual factors, such as product attributes and store environment, or to individual personality traits. In this article, the authors find that type of food consumed can also influence impulsive choice. Specifically, food that enhances the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin can reduce impulsive choice. To test the hypotheses on the influence of serotonin on postconsumption impulsive choice, the authors collected data on the eve of Thanksgiving. The occasion of Thanksgiving dinner provides a naturalistic setting in which people consume a tryptophan-rich meal (tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin). The authors replicate these findings and obtain converging evidence in a lab setting in which they give some participants a tryptophan-rich beverage and observe their postconsumption impulsive choices.

Source: “We Are What We Consume: The Influence of Food Consumption on Impulsive Choice” from Journal of Marketing Research

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