Motivated to be nudged?
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Previous research has indicated that nudges can positively affect healthy behaviour. This study extended earlier experimental research that merely focussed on the effect of nudges, by investigating the effect of motivation to eat healthy on a health promoting nudge. One lab experiment and one field experiment were carried out. The lab experiment (N = 99) investigated the effect of the shape of a container (wide and low vs. tall and narrow) on likelihood and amount of candy consumption, and the effect of motivation on the effect of this nudge. The field experiment (N = 464) was conducted to address limitations of the first experiment and merely investigated the nudge effect. No effect of the nudge nor an effect of motivation was revealed in Experiment I. Interestingly when extrinsic motivation rather than general motivation was included in analyses, there was an effect of the nudge: participants ate more from the wide low container. Also there was a positive correlation between extrinsic motivation and amount of candy consumed. In Experiment II, women, but not men, were more likely to pick candy from a wide low vase rather than a tall narrow vase in the morning, but not in the afternoon. Because of methodological limitations to this study, current findings cannot be taken to substantiate that manipulating accessibility of candy through container shape does not affect candy consumption. This research should be considered a first step in answering a relatively new scientific query and provide a starting point for future research exploring the relation between nudges and motivation.