Aesthetic plating and motivation in context
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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- Scientific articles 
Original versionInternational Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science. 2021, 24, (July 100323) 10.1016/j.ijgfs.2021.100323
Previous research has suggested that people prefer balanced over unbalanced plating compositions. Importantly, though, the question remains as to whether plating balance influences consumers' associations of plating with approach and avoidance motivation. In the present research, we study how plating balance influence people's aesthetic evaluations and approach and avoidance associations. In addition, based on the idea that context can influence aesthetic evaluations, we manipulate whether the different plates are presented in regular dining or high-end restaurant scenarios. Throughout two experiments we extend previous findings suggesting that plating balance influences aesthetic pleasure. We find that balanced plates are considered more aesthetically pleasing than unbalanced plates. Furthermore, we demonstrate that people associate balanced plates more (less) strongly with approach (avoidance) words relative to unbalanced plates. Notably, our analysis failed to reveal an effect of plating context on either aesthetic pleasure or approach and avoidance ratings. This suggests that balance may be a robust feature in aesthetic plating when it comes to its influence on these variables.