The psychology (and economics and marketing) of overeating

While we recover from holiday #1, Salon.com’s Katharine Mieszkowski interviews Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, about the psychology of overeating, and they come up with some economic and marketing insights. Since the observations that you’ll eat more from a larger plate (or a larger bag of chips) and that labeling a fast-food item “healthy” is the “kiss of death” are a bit old hat, this one was our favorite:

We did a survey of over 1,000 people, and 40 percent of their favorite comfort foods ended up being things that are reasonably healthy for you—meal-related foods, like soup, pasta, steak, casseroles—as opposed to candy, cakes, chips and ice cream. But one thing is that men tend to prefer those meal foods. … They said: “When I eat meal-related foods, I really feel cared for, I feel like I’m important, I feel like I’m the center of attention.” And when we asked women about those same foods, women said: “Yeah, we like them, they just don’t really give us that much comfort, because when we think of these foods we think of the fact that we’re probably going to have to make them, we’re probably going to have to clean up after them.”

And so women prefer pre-made snack foods.

Thanks to Glenn Wright for the link.
Technorati Tags: , ,

Teaching globalization in high schools

At Dollars & Sense, we’re often asked if any of the readers in our book catalog are particularly geared toward high school students. The answer, sadly, is no. But for all of you who have asked, the current issue of Rethinking Schools offers high school teachers a good globalization course outline by Berkeley High School’s Jody Sokolower. The article, “Bringing Globalization Home,” is not online, but here’s an excerpt from Sokolower’s description of a family survey she assigned to her students (12th grade English language learners):

My expectations for this activity were modest. I figured we’d gather some information about natural resources and industry … and collect data on why people migrate. …but I expected many question marks on the surveys. …I was amazed at the depth of information we received and the time that parents and other relatives spent in sharing a wealth of experience and knowledge. …One pattern that emerged was how often families are separated by migration. Another was the career sacrifices parents make: Beza’s father had been a principal in Ethiopia but works as a teacher’s aide here; Maria’s father was an engineer in Pakistan, but here he does clerical work. …We got great information on resources, public and private ownership, changes in the economy—everything. As an engineer, Maria’s father had a professional’s understanding of energy resources. Jose’s cousin knew firsthand about NAFTA and how he and his family were forced off their land in Mexico when the price of corn fell year after year. Every family had personal stories and … information that contributed to the global picture we were creating. …This project made me realize what a mistake it is to ignore fmailies as resources. This is especially true for immigrant students, who sometimes feel that they must leave their family and culture behind to “make it” in the United States.

You can get a copy of the article or issue from Rethinking Schools.

Technorati Tags: ,