IJERPH, Vol. 16, Pages 3014: Skin Conductance Responses Indicate Children are Physiologically Aroused by Their Favourite Branded Food and Drink Products (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Children’s favourite food and beverage brands use various tactics to foster positive associations and loyalty. This brand-consumer dynamic is frequently influenced by the use of implicit techniques and emotional appeals. Few studies have used physiological methods to examine the connections that brands build with children and the influence this has on their automatic responses. These techniques are potentially less prone to bias than behavioural or cognitive methods. This is the first study to explore the implicit response that children have to images of their favourite food and beverage brands using skin conductance responses as a marker of arousal. Australian children aged 8–11 years (n = 48) were recruited. Images of the participants’ favourite branded food and beverage products, alongside images of the same products unpackaged, their family and friends, and neutral objects were presented in a randomised order with a standard timed interval between images. Children were significantly more aroused by branded images of their favourite food and beverage products than by their unpackaged counterparts (p < 0.042, d = 0.4). The physiological response to the branded products was similar to the response to the children’s family and friends (p = 0.900, d = −0.02). These findings suggest that children may have an implicit connection to their favourite branded products.