New Publication: Social norms shift behavioral and neural responses to foods

Why do we like what we like?  It seems that other people influence our values and preferences, even when it comes to food.  A new study by Erik Nook and Jamil Zaki found that Stanford undergraduates shifted their preferences for foods towards those of their peers.  However, group norms didn't just shift how much participants said they liked foods, norms also shifted how their brains responded to foods.  The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (a region thought to encode "value") was more active when participants re-rated foods they believed their peers rated favorably, as compared to unfavorably.  These data suggest that social norms can shift food preferences at both self-reported and neural levels, a finding that could inform interventions that promote healthy eating.  For a complete list of SSNL publications, click here.