A recent article in Scientific American describes the “halo effect” that healthy side dishes can provide to an otherwise unhealthy meal.
Two groups were asked to estimate the calorie count of a meal. For example, half the people were shown a picture of a gross, greasy hamburger. The other half was shown the same gross, greasy hamburger with a side of three celery sticks. The results?
- Hamburger only: 691 estimated calories
- Hamburger plus celery: 648 estimated calories
So they made the meal seem more healthy by adding food. Unconscious framing at work.