Dr Cammy Crolic, Associate Professor of Marketing, has won the John A. Howard American Marketing Association Doctoral Dissertation Award.
The award, which includes a $1000 cash prize, was given for Cammy's research paper Hedonic Escalation: When Food Just Tastes Better and Better. The dissertation, published in the Journal of Consumer Research in collaboration with Dr Chris Janiszewski, explores the theory that the enjoyment of food and beverages can increase with repeated consumption.
‘Past research had only shown that we adapt to our food and that our enjoyment decreases over time,’ said Cammy. ‘Our research sought to prove that, just as the pleasure of drinking a fine wine can grow instead of dissipate, the enjoyment of food can increase with each bite, a phenomenon I term hedonic escalation.’
Cammy hypothesized that hedonic escalation is more likely to occur when we eat complex, palatable foods as each bite gives us the chance to discover something new. In a series of seven studies, she explored how hedonic escalation is influenced by the learning that occurs as we take an additional bite in conjunction with the memory of the flavours from the previous bites. ‘Hedonic escalation is improved when we are able to taste a unique flavour on each successive mouthful, as this adds to the richness and complexity of the experience,’ said Cammy.
The research also concluded that hedonic escalation can increase consumption and influence food choices – a finding that Cammy believes could have an impact on public health policies. ‘If we can use this new insight on hedonistic escalation, we could potentially counsel people on how better to control their bad snacking habits, which would have a long term impact on their health and wellbeing,’ she said.
The American Marketing Association (AMA) has been recognising exceptional dissertations since 1960, and it attracts distinguished candidates from across the world. Cammy received her award, including a cash prize and a plaque, at a ceremony during the Winter AMA conference in Orlando, Florida. ‘I am honoured to receive the John A. Howard AMA Doctoral Dissertation Award, and it is wonderful to have my research recognised in this way,’ said Cammy.