Science Project:

Colors That Make You Hungry

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Research Questions:

  • Do certain colors stimulate the appetite?
  • Do certain colors suppress the appetite?

Can color influence your cravings for certain types of food? There is plenty of scientific evidence suggesting that color has a unique ability to sway our desire for certain objects like food. This experiment will look at how colors affect hunger. Students will try to identify which colors stimulate the appetites of test subjects, and which colors suppress appetite.

Materials:

  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Software for presentation design
  • Electronic images of many types of food
  • Notebook for analyzing results
  • Test subjects (at least 10 in each group)

Experimental Procedure

  1. Create a survey to give your test subjects that analyzes their current food preferences. Example questions could include: Rate your current level of hunger on a scale of 1 to 10. Rate your current level of desire for salty food on a scale of 1 to 10. Rate your current level of desire for sugary food on a scale of 1 to 10. Rate your current level of desire for fast food on a scale of 1 to 10. Rate your current level of desire for a healthy meal on a scale of 1 to 10.
  2. Design a presentation that has a single image on each slide. Include pictures of many types of food in your presentation. Create several versions of your presentation with a different color selected for the slide background in each version (eg, blue, yellow, red, brown). Keep the slide images consistent among presentations, only vary the background color.
  3. Gather many test subjects in a room 1-2 hours before lunch or dinnertime.
  4. Ask your test subjects to take the survey.
  5. Show test subjects one version of your presentation. Record which color background was shown to this group.
  6. Ask subjects to repeat the survey after watching the presentation.
  7. Repeat steps 3-6 for each version of your presentation. Use a different group of test subjects each time.
  8. Analyze the before and after surveys taken by each test subject in each test group. Do certain groups tend to report greater increases in hunger after watching the presentation? Which color background did they see? Which colors do not appear to affect hunger at all? Do certain colors sway your subjects’ desire for specific types of food?

Terms/Concepts: Color psychology; What affects appetite?

Author: Megan Doyle
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