Tracy Cheung

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I obtained my undergraduate B.A. Honours degree in Psychology at Queen’s University, Canada in 2010, and further graduated with a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Bristol, UK in 2012.   In September 2012, I began my doctoral research as part of the European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship as one of 14 Early Stage Researchers of the Consumer Competence Research Training (CONCORT) network.


Traditional models of health behaviour suggest that a high level of self-control is necessary to make conscious, and informed healthy food choices in the interest of long-term health goals.  Many food choices are, however, made mindlessly and impulsively, and hence in a state of low self-control that does not warrant healthy choices.  Indeed, despite having good intentions to be healthy consumers’ self-control often fails, and while previous research has heavily focused on raising self-control to reduce such impulsivity as interventions to overcome unhealthy consumption, these efforts have largely been met with limited success.  In response, my research takes a different approach of working with, rather than against, the impulsive nature of low self-control by employing heuristics to guide impulsive decisions towards more healthy choices.  In a series of lab and field studies I aim to test the hypothesis that consumers low in self-control will prefer healthy food items when they are associated with heuristic principles (e.g., social proof, scarcity).  Deviating from the traditional view that the impulsive nature of low self-control is detrimental for health goals, my research aims to demonstrate that an impulsive choice made under low self-control can be a healthy food choice when the choice setting offers suitable heuristics promoting it.

Selection of Publications

Cheung, T. T., Kroese, F., Fennis, B.M., & De Ridder, D. (in press). Put a limit on it: The protective effects of scarcity heuristics when self-control is low. Health Psychology Open.

Cheung, T. T., Junghans, A.J., Dijksterhuis, G.B., Kroese. F., Johansson, P., Hall, L., De Ridder, D. (2015). Consumers’ choice-blindness to ingredient information. Apetite. Advance online publication. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2015.09.022 pdf

Cheung, T. T., Gillebaart, M., Kroese, F., & De Ridder, D. (2014). Why are people with high self-control happier? The effect of trait self-control on happiness as mediated by regulatory focus. Frontiers in psychology5pdf

Complete overview of publications

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