The research questions were clearly stated with both dependent (9 point Rickart scale questionnaire) and independent variables (large v average sized containers and stale v fresh popcorn) identified. The study was a randomized controlled trial, 2 x 2 between-subjects design. Participants were randomly given either a 120 gram or a 240-gram container of pre-weighed, fresh or stale popcorn to eat while viewing the movie; after the movie, the containers and remaining popcorn were re-weighed to determine measures of consumption; participants were also required to complete a 9-point Rickart scale questionnaire in order to measure perceived taste and to write a description of them in order to measure palatability of the popcorn, and to write a description of this palatability and whether they considered the size of the containers as having any impact on the amount they consumed.
Location: Philadelphian cinema – ‘Stargate’ movie. Subjects: 158 viewers of the movie, 57. 6% male; fresh popcorn – average-sized containers: n=38 and larger-sized containers n=40, stale popcorn – average container: n=39 and large container, n=40; means and ANOVA results (analysis of variance) indicated that participants in each randomized sample were comparable in age (28. 9, 30. 4, 29. 0 and 27. 2 years of age, F=0. 465, P>0. 20), and gender mix (57%, 60%, 62%, 54% male, chi-square = 0. (522, P>0. 20).
Findings: regression coefficients show that given fresh popcorn ate 45. 3% more from large containers (85. 6 vs 58. 9 grams, F1, 76=38. 6, P,0. 01) The size of container proved to have a compelling influence on consumption, which was higher for both fresh and stale popcorn (45. 3% and 33. 6% respectively) when eaten from the large containers, even when regarded as unpalatable (disliked) by participants (50. 8 vs 38. 0 grams, F 1,77=8. (73, P. 0. 01).
Fresh popcorn, however, procured a larger increase in consumption than the stale (F1, 154=7. 42, P<0. 01). Taste and quality ratings of participants did not correlate with measured findings (amount of consumption) and thus are deemed to have no influence on how much popcorn was eaten. Recommendations: Although each randomized sample of subjects was comparable in age and gender the weighting of males and females within each sample is not even. Perhaps results would be different if the study was not top-heavy with male participants. Also, we know the subjects were all between the ages of 18 and 66 with a median age of 28. 7 years; further studies incorporating different age groups, together with different gender groups would perhaps shed further light on the question. Reference Wansink, B., and Kim, J. (2005) Bad popcorn in big buckets: portion size can influence intake as much as taste, Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior, 37:242-245.
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