How do we prevent young people from eating too much junk food and exposing themselves to the associated health risks? A simple but effective psychological strategy looks to be the key, according to new research.
The genius is it's all about tapping into teens' natural tendency to rebel: by pointing out how well-funded marketing campaigns are designed to get all of us hooked on junk foods, researchers were able to get the young people to actually shift their eating choices.
The technique works better than simply giving teens information on healthy eating, the study shows, leveraging their innate resistance to being tricked or coerced into something – a resistance that can make a real difference in terms of diet.
"One of the most exciting things is that we got kids to have a more negative immediate gut reaction to junk food and junk food marketing, and a more positive immediate gut reaction to healthy foods," says behavioural scientist Christopher J. Bryan from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
"Food marketing is deliberately designed to create positive emotional associations with junk food, to connect it with feelings of happiness and fun," says Bryan. "What we've done is turn that around on the food marketers by exposing this manipulation to teenagers, triggering their natural strong aversion to being controlled by adults."
"If we could make more kids aware of that, it might make a real difference."
常见用法：to rebel against sb./sth.
Children always rebel against their parents and teachers.孩子总是同父母和老师对着干。