“Passion comes from the heart and is manifest as optimism, excitement, emotional connection, and determination” Stephen R. Covey (the 8th Habit)
Eleventh Law of Branding (Branding by Peer Pressure)
Study shows how peer pressure affects consumption
by H. Roger Segelken
Are your attitudes toward certain foods shaped by peer pressure rather than science? Recent research conducted by Cornell suggests that’s the case.
While some ingredient food fears are justified by objective evidence, others have demonized ingredients and damaged industries. Researchers at the university’s Food and Brand Lab surveyed 1,008 mothers about their attitudes toward high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients.
“We discovered multiple motivating factors behind ingredient avoidance,” said Aner Tal, co-author of the report, “Ingredient-based Food Fears and Avoidance,” published online June 5 in the journal Food Quality and Preference.
“Some individuals may have a greater need for social approval among their reference group and so choose or avoid products as a social display, a phenomenon known as the Prius Effect,” Tal added. “Just as purchasing a Prius signals a certain set of beliefs to one’s friends or peers, expressing a negative attitude toward certain foods or ingredients could simultaneously allow one to express both self- and group-identity.”
What works for Toyota, which sold millions of the environmentally friendly cars to people who care what friends think, could be troubling for the processed food industry. Women who showed a tendency toward epicurean peer pressure were much more likely to agree with negative statements about a product.
“High fructose corn syrup avoiders expressed a stronger belief that the ingredient gives you headaches, is dangerous for children, cannot be digested, is bad for skin, makes one sluggish and changes one’s palate,” the researchers reported.
Fears were stronger for ingredients associated with less nutritious food, though changing names, or rebranding, did alter judgments – high fructose corn syrup-avoiding women were less likely to shun “corn sugar” or “table sugar.”
Educating consumers might also do the trick. The researchers noted that participants’ views toward ingredients “became more positive when they were either informed about the history and functions of the ingredient, or informed of the wide range of familiar products that currently contain the ingredient – all factors that contribute to familiarity with the product.”
The study also found that ingredient avoiders tended to rely on the Internet for health and wellness information, rather than television. With that in mind, the researchers advised that government agencies, public health departments and industry groups develop science-based websites to help address misinformation, emphasize benefits of the ingredient along with risks, and openly provide a history of the ingredient, its manufacture and its use.
“To overcome food ingredient fears, learn the science, history and the process of how the ingredient is made, and you’ll be a smarter, savvier consumer,” said Food and Brand Lab Director Brian Wansink, lead author on the report.
The study was funded in part by the Corn Refiners Association and the Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.
More information: Brian Wansink, Aner Tal, Adam Brumberg, “Ingredient-based food fears and avoidance: Antecedents and antidotes,” Food Quality and Preference, Volume 38, December 2014, Pages 40-48, ISSN 0950-3293,dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.foodqual.2014.05.015.
Provided by Cornell University
Peer pressure is weaker for kids to quit smoking
Adolescents tend to be more powerful in influencing their friends to start smoking than in helping them to quit, according to sociologists.
In a study of adolescent friendship networks and smoking use over time, the researchers found that friends exert influence on their peers to both start and quit smoking, but the influence to start is stronger.
“What we found is that social influence matters, it leads nonsmoking friends into smoking and nonsmoking friends can turn smoking friends into nonsmokers,” said Steven Haas, associate professor of sociology and demography, Penn State. “However, the impact is asymmetrical: the tendency for adolescents to follow their friends into smoking is stronger.”
Haas, who worked with David Schaefer, associate professor of human evolution and social change, Arizona State University, said that the addictive effect of nicotine may be the strongest influence on an adolescent’s inability to help their friends quit smoking. However, there are other reasons why peer influence to start smoking is stronger.
“In order to become a smoker, kids need to know how to smoke, they need to know where to buy cigarettes and how to smoke without being caught, which are all things they can learn from their friends who smoke,” said Haas. “But, friends are unlikely to be able to provide the type resources needed to help them quit smoking.”
Nonsmoking friends would not have access to nicotine replacement products or organized cessation programs to help their friends quit, according to the researchers, who report their findings in the current issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.
“Most often, adolescents will try to either quit cold turkey, or by gradually reducing their smoking, and these are the least successful ways to quit,” said Haas.
While most current adolescent smoking prevention programs are aimed at building resistance to peer pressure, Haas said school nurses and health professionals may be able to design programs that use peer pressure to positively influence behavior. For example, they could design programs to help nonsmoking adolescents help their smoking friends.
“We have to have a more nuanced view of influence,” said Haas. “In reality, kids aren’t all bad or all good, and some friends who may not be a good influence in one area may actually be a positive influence in other areas.”
The research may also apply to other areas of adolescent behavior.
“This may apply well beyond smoking,” said Haas. “There may be similar patterns in adolescent drinking, drug use, sex and delinquency.”
Even though smoking rates have declined, adolescent smoking remains a serious problem that has both health and economic costs. From 2000 to 2004, smoking and second-hand exposure to cigarettes was linked to 400,000 deaths and results in $100 billion in lost productivity each year, according to the researchers.
The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Their sample data set included two high schools, one with 757 students and the other with 1,673 students. The data was collected at several times throughout the school year, allowing researchers a chance to see how not just behaviors change, but also how networks of friendships evolve over time. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development supported this work.
Resisting peer pressure: new findings shed light on adolescent decision-making
The capacity to resist peer pressure in early adolescence may depend on the strength of connections between certain areas of the brain, according to a study carried out by University of Nottingham researchers.
New findings suggest that enhanced connections across brain regions involved in decision-making may underlie an individual’s ability to resist the influence of peers.
The study, published in the July 25 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience, suggests that brain regions which regulate different aspects of behaviour are more interconnected in children with high resistance to peer influence.
Professor Tomas Paus and colleagues at The University of Nottingham used functional neuroimaging to scan adolescents while they watched video clips of neutral or angry hand and face movements. Previous research has shown that anger is the most easily recognised emotion.
Professor Paus and his team observed 35 ten-year-olds with high and low resistance to peer influence, measured by a questionnaire. The researchers then showed the children video clips of angry hand movements and angry faces and measured their brain activity.
They found that the brains of all children showed activity in regions important for planning and extracting information about social cues from movement, but the connectivity within these regions was stronger in children who were marked as less vulnerable to peer influence.
Those children were also found to have more activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area important for decision-making and inhibition of unwanted behaviour.
Professor Paus said: “This is important if we are to understand how the adolescent brain attains the right balance between acknowledging the influences of others and maintaining one’s independence.”
Future research will involve follow-ups with the same children to determine whether their resistance to peer influence is related to the brain changes observed in this study.
The work was a supported by grants from the Santa Fe Institute Consortium and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organisation of more than 36,500 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is Britain’s University of the Year (The Times Higher Awards 2006). It undertakes world-changing research, provides innovative teaching and a student experience of the highest quality. Ranked by Newsweek in the world’s Top 75 universities, its academics have won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. The University is an international institution with campuses in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.
More information is available from Professor Tomas Paus, Brain & Body Centre, University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 951 5362, firstname.lastname@example.org ; or Media Relations Manager Tim Utton in the University’s Media and Public Relations Office on +44 (0)115 846 8092, email@example.com .
Strength of connections between brain regions may affect an adolescent’s response to peer influence
Brain regions that regulate different aspects of behavior are more interconnected in children with high resistance to peer influence than those with low resistance, according to a new study published in the July 25 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.
“These findings may help develop more effective strategies to prevent the development of lifestyles of violence and crime,” says John Sweeney, PhD, Director of the Center for Cognitive Medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Sweeney was not involved in this study.
In the new study, Tomas Paus, MD, PhD, at the University of Nottingham, and his colleagues used functional neuroimaging to scan adolescents while they watched video clips of neutral or angry hand and face movements. Previous research has shown that anger is the most easily recognized emotion.
Paus and his team observed 35 10-year-olds with high and low resistance to peer influence, as determined by a questionnaire. The researchers then showed the children video clips of angry hand movements and angry faces and measured their brain activity. They found that the brains of all children showed activity in regions important for planning and extracting information about social cues from movement, but the connectivity between these regions was stronger in children who were marked as less vulnerable to peer influence. These children were also found to have more activity in the prefrontal cortex, an area important for decision making and inhibition of socially inappropriate behavior.
“This is important if we are to understand how the adolescent brain attains the right balance between acknowledging the influences of others and maintaining one’s independence,” says Paus.
Future research will involve follow-up studies with the same children to determine whether their resistance to real-life peer influence is related to the differences in brain wiring observed in this study.
The work was a supported by grants from the Santa Fe Institute Consortium and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 36,500 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Paus can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A) If your job involves repetitive tasks, find something more rewarding, creative, and or uplifting with better people around.
B) Develop a supportive connection to other people or groups
C) Create a sense of autonomy with independence and control
D) Achieve a sense of competence, a sense of purpose
E) Connect more with spiritual side of yours, nature and animals
We also recommend a wonderful book called “Creating Optimism” by Bob Murray and Alicia Fortinberry.