Psychology

Take a look at any food label and there's a good chance all design elements, from the color palette to the smallest detail, were meticulously chosen.


Marion Nestle, Vani Hari, Michael Pollan; we have all seen messages from self-appointed "food police" telling us that sugary snacks are bad, GMOs are bad, everything except organic vegetables (they seem to believe those have no pesticides or genetic modification) is bad.

But they may be doing more harm than good, not just for public acceptance of science, but for the people they claim to want to help. The government is doing the same thing. They are increasing their use of public service announcements (PSAs) about the dangers of unhealthy eating. 


The Centers for Disease Control recently released survey results from kids showing that many of them had seen some form of advertisement for e-cigarettes. Then they matched them to the uptick in e-cigarette use among young people and implied causation.


Have you ever been to the supermarket and chosen foods based on nutrition labels?  Have you ever assumed a fat-laden, high-calorie coffee drink must be healthier because a barista claims the milk does not contain something science-sounding like rBST?

Labels were once used to inform. The government mandated accuracy beginning in 1938 to make sure people were getting what they thought they were buying. A decade ago a food maker was penalized for selling cheese that was fake cheese but today a vegan company wants to sell mayonnaise that isn't mayonnaise, and various food activists want mandatory labels on products they compete against.


There is a common perception that as people spend more time together, they begin to act and think more alike. They may even look more alike.  This synchrony, or interdependence, between a couple posits that a married person's cognitive functioning or health influences not only their own well-being but also the well-being of their partner.

A new paper finds that this interdependence continues even when one of the partners passes away and his or her characteristics continue to be linked with the surviving spouse's well-being. 


It may seem strange to have a segment of the population, once confined to wealthy elites on the coasts but now growing nationwide, which believe that a particular process for food is not only healthier, but materially, culturally and ethically important. Yet the ultra-conservatives who make up the organic food customers, corporations, trade groups and lobbyists are not a modern invention. The engine was going to ruin agriculture too, and resistance to modern science and technology goes back at least 7,000 years.

Then, as now, the difference was that staying in the past would be 'better' for health. 


Take any religion that claims to be about peace and it will have a violent history. And while Islam is the most violent religion claiming to be peaceful today, Christians commit plenty of hateful acts - and Buddhists have extremists in their ranks as well.


It may not be sexism that keeps more women from top jobs, it may be less understanding of the role of social capital in reaching the top, according to graduate student Natasha Abajian of City University London at the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham.


Claims that sitting is bad for your health were all the rage last year - epidemiological curve matching claimed that you were in real peril if you didn't get up once an hour, while waitresses without epidemiologists surveying them disagreed that a desk job was more harmful.

It may be that emails get all of the mainstream media Scare Journalism in 2016. A new presentatin at the British Psychological Society's Division of Occupational Psychology annual conference in Nottingham by Dr Richard MacKinnon from the Future Work Centre suggests that it's not just the volume of emails that causes stress; it's our well-intentioned habits and our need to feel in control that backfires on us.


No one wants to knowingly buy products made with child labor or that harm the environment and that may be why few people want to know if their favorite products were made ethically. Even beyond that, people really don't like those good people who make the effort to seek out ethically made goods - because, like going on a cleanse, no one ever did so quietly.