We just had a paper accepted at Acta Psychologica, with the title: A dual systems account of visual perception: Predicting candy consumption from distance estimates. This was one line of research that Dario Kpran (now Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics) completed during his PhD in the lab. Our research generally assumes that perception works in the service of goal-directed behaviour. If this is true then it should be possible to predict everyday behaviour, such as eating, from perceptual estimates.
We tested the link between perceived distance to candies and their consumption for participants who were tired or depleted (impulsive system), versus those who were not (reflective system). Perception predicted eating when participants were tired or depleted. In contrast, a rational determinant of behavior—eating restraint towards candies—predicted eating for non-depleted individuals. We also showed that perceived distance was correlated with participants’ self-reported motivation to consume candies.
This finding suggests that people’s visual perception can be used to infer their covert motivations regarding rewarding stimuli.
Krpan, D., & Schnall, S. (in press). A dual systems account of visual perception: Predicting candy consumption from distance estimates. Acta Psychologica.