Adult’s Mental Representations of Foods and Vegetable Categorization are Predictive of Food Acceptance.

Abigail Pickard, Debra Zellner, Jeremie Lafraire

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


To speed up food recognition and choice, individuals critically profit from category knowledge. Categories are the classes formed from grouping concepts (i.e., an apple) based on shared associations or features (i.e., fruits). Categorization is a fundamental mechanism when making informed decisions in the food domain, as it allows for the inference of key properties for less familiar instances that fall into the same category. Holding larger, all-inclusive categories increases the risk of over-generalization for both positive and negative attributes. The present research aimed to investigate whether food-related decisions are guided by vegetable categorization. The main hypothesis tested was that individuals high in food neophobia, low in vegetable liking, and low in willingness would create fewer food groups. 174 adults living in France between 18 to 59 years old (Mean = 29.43, SD = 9.4) completed a free-sorting task using 59 images of vegetables. The participant was subsequently asked to rate the 59 vegetables with regards to familiarity, liking, and willingness to try and also asked to complete the Food Neophobia Scale (Pliner & Hobden, 1992). Linear modeling demonstrated that willingness to try the vegetables and FNS were significantly predictive of the number of categories formed. Adults with higher levels of food neophobia and lower willingness to try vegetables create larger all-inclusive (coarse-grained) categories. These findings suggest that educating adults about the differences between vegetables to avoid over-generalization of negative properties could lead to an increased willingness to try foods and greater dietary variety.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jan 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Adult’s Mental Representations of Foods and Vegetable Categorization are Predictive of Food Acceptance.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this