Curious to eat insects? Curiosity as a Key Predictor of Willingness to try novel food



Stone H, FitzGibbon L, Millan E & Murayama K (2022) Curious to eat insects? Curiosity as a Key Predictor of Willingness to try novel food. Appetite, 168, p. 105790.

Entomophagy – the consumption of insects – is often rejected by Western society despite its benefits over traditional animal-based proteins. While several factors have been identified as potential predictors of people's willingness to try insect foods, this study introduced an under-explored factor: curiosity, which is a powerful motivator of behaviour that can overcome negative emotions and motivate us to seek new experiences. In two experiments (Ns = 240 and 248), participants (all UK residents, 99.6% British citizens) rated a number of food dishes, half of which contained insects, on a number of factors including curiosity and willingness to try the dish. Across both studies, curiosity predicted willingness to try both insect and non-insect foods above and beyond other factors. Furthermore, we unexpectedly (but consistently) observed a “curiosity-boosting effect” in which curiosity positively interacted with other predictors, increasing their effect on willingness to try insect foods, but not familiar foods. These findings suggest that curiosity promotes the willingness to try insect food in two different manners: A direct effect (above and beyond other factors) and a boosting effect.

Nutrition and Dietetics; General Psychology

Appetite: Volume 168

FundersJacobs Foundation and The Leverhulme Trust
Publication date31/01/2022
Date accepted by journal01/11/2021
PublisherElsevier BV

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Dr Lily FitzGibbon

Dr Lily FitzGibbon

Lecturer in Psychology, Psychology

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