In Social Psychology last semester, we read a paper by Zhong & DaVoe* that showed a causal relationship between exposure to fast food logos (as opposed to local sit-down restaurant logos) and impatience through a number of measures. Today Sanford DaVoe published an interesting Op-Ed in the NY Times where he reviews some archival and survey data analysis that shows this effect might be present not only in the lab but in the “real” world, and may affect our well-being. He concludes:
our research highlights the need to think more explicitly about the subtle cues in our everyday living environment. Put differently, one important step you can take to nudge yourself toward being more patient would be to live in a neighborhood that doesn’t constantly bombard you with reminders of instant gratification.
I have a bit of a problem with that last sentence. While some of us have such choices through the benefits of structural inequalities, many do not. As we covered in Stereotyping and Prejudice this semester, the choice of where we live is largely determined by socioeconomic factors including race and its correlate, income.
In addition, television is the major force bombarding us with these reminders; that crosses neighborhood boundaries. Thus, I would call for restrictions or bans on public advertisements for fast food. However, such a public health initiative might not go over well with the more conservative parts of our legislative bodies. Remember that conservativism is correlated with individualism and Protestant Work Ethic which would imply that it is not the environment but rather the individual weaknesses of people who are susceptible to such advertisements.
Round and around, that’s the way things go. — Lucy Kaplansky
Link to “Big Mac, Thin Wallet”, the Op-Ed in the NY Times
Tags : public health, Social Psychology
Categories : Social Psychology, Stereotyping and Prejudice, Weblogging