Stories of research, nutrition, and nature

Bits and pieces

Some pickings from other blogs:

  • Dan Ariely’s new paper says that asking people if they want to downsize their portions is much more effective than calorie labeling in helping people not to overeat. In general, making people stop and think before they make a decision is better in changing behavior than merely providing information. (I think that calorie labeling might be ineffective also because the information is too difficult to interpret. You need to put your brain to process it and make calculations in order to understand what it really means. And even then, it’s still a big step to actual behavior change.)
  • Stories are persuasive because they are easy to understand and empathize with. Engaging stories sweep you away and you forget to pay attention to the fact that the narrator is subtly trying to make you shift your attitude. I wish I could learn to write like that – with good intentions, of course. There’s a book called “Made to Stick” in which they presented an acronym that stuck with me. SUCCES: Simple, Unexpected, Concrete, Credible, Emotional, Stories. The more you have of those in your message, the more likely it is to penetrate in your audience.
  • Educate parents to prevent children’s obesity. Parents and schools, they’re the main gatekeepers and habit establishers, and therefore the primary targets.

And an opinion piece in LA Times written by two wise men in the Lab. Don’t take all choice away, or you’ll invoke reactance.

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