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EMAC 2022 Regional Conference

The Proximal Depiction Effect of Indulgent (Versus Non-Indulgent) Foods on Consumer Responses

Published: December 1, 2022


Sumit Malik, Monash University, Malaysia School of Business; Eda Sayin, IE Business School; Kriti Jain, IE Business School, IE University


Pictures of proximally depicted appetizing foods can spontaneously evoke our tastiness perception, purchase/ online ordering intentions, and expectations of enjoyment. Across four studies, we demonstrate that proximal (than distant) food depictions can increase consumer responses – specifically, for indulgent (than non-indulgent) foods and for display formats that lead to brief (than multiple) exposures to such pictorial cues. This effect is driven by implicit associations relating “proximal depictions with tastiness” and higher perceived tastiness for the up-and-close depiction of indulgent foods. We find replicating evidence for the “proximal depiction effect” using different food stimuli and consummatory contexts.