Understanding the dynamics of climate-crucial food choice behaviours using Distributional Semantics (Papers Track) Spotlight

Claudia Haworth (University of Sheffield); Gabriella Viglioco (University College London)

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Societal Adaptation & Resilience Agriculture & Food


Developed countries must make swift movements toward plant-based diets in order to mitigate climate change and maintain food security. However, researchers currently lack clear insight into the psychological dimensions that influence food choice, which is necessary to encourage the societal adaptation of new diets. In this project, we use Skip-gram word embeddings trained on the ukWaC corpus as a lens to study the implicit mental representations people have of foods. Our data-driven insights expand on findings from traditional, interview-based studies by uncovering implicit mental representations, allowing a better understanding the complex combination of conscious and sub-conscious processes surrounding food choice. In particular, our findings shed light on the pervasiveness of meat as the ‘centre’ of the meal in the UK.

Recorded Talk (direct link)