• Brain Stamp Staff

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

By Adrian Ke & Johanna Kann

Imagine that you are a grape at the local grocery store. A small woman strolls toward you and gently picks you up. She examines you closely and, for a second, you think to yourself, “The world is perfect. I’m finally going to be taken home!” You start to buzz with excitement, but then the wheels of her shopping cart creak as it rolls away from you.

“Huh? Was it something I did? Do I smell bad?”

As a small tear starts to form in your little eye, you hear the woman mutter, “These grapes are from Brazil! I can never trust them.”

Nowadays, when people go to the supermarket, they are known to pay close attention to the countries from which their foods originate. This phenomenon is known as the country-of-origin effect, a psychological condition in which consumers respond to products differently simply based on a product’s country-of-origin labeling.

Researchers have discovered that the country of origin actually has an extremely significant effect on how humans perceive goods. For example, one experiment presented two types of canned fruits to participants: one from a native country and another from a foreign country. This study found that people like canned fruits from their own country far more than those from foreign countries. However, no one has looked at fresh produce… yet!

We sought to be the first to solve this mystery.

We tested for the country-of-origin effect by sending out a survey to hundreds of people on the internet. They each saw a picture of fresh produce (specifically, grapes), labeled with a fictional sticker label from one of six different countries: USA, Spain, Brazil, Morocco, China, or, lastly, a control with no country. Then, the participants reported about how high or low the quality of the grapes was.

So what did we find?

Basically, we found that Americans have a negative bias toward China. However, they rated the grapes of every other country, including the control, to be of about the same quality. We also found that ethnocentric people (people who judge other cultures based on their own standards) did not rate American produce to be of a significantly better quality than people who were not ethnocentric.

But why is this important?

First of all, our research suggests that consumers do not pay much attention to the quality of fresh produce from other countries besides that of China. However, the funny thing is that these consumers do not realize that some countries, such as Morocco, have worse food standards than we do in the United States. Consumers also rated Brazilian and Spanish produce to be of about the same quality as U.S. produce, despite the fact that these countries have stricter food safety laws and better quality produce.

We believe that we can use these results to inform the consumer community of our biases about certain countries. Apparently, ethnocentrism does not influence how we think about produce, so this may mean that we have the ability to become more open-minded about buying foreign produce once we become more educated about global food standards.

#adrianke #johannakann #bias #food #foodfears #countryoforigineffect

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Do you like writing?

Do you like winning?

Do you like writing and winning?

If you answered "yes" to the previous questions, then there is a competition that you would love!

The American Psychological Association (or APA for short) has an organization called the APA Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (or TOPSS for short). This organization is running its annual essay competition, and this year's topic is... racial bias.

Despite the reforms for change, we still live in a world with racial bias in various sections of society, especially in the criminal justice system. While racist behavior may be carried out consciously, psychologists now understand that it may also occur when we are unaware. Whether you mean it or not, the consequences of racial bias may still be severe and damaging.

You will be asked to explore all sorts of questions, including:

"What evidence is there that racial bias exists in modern society?"

"What are the impacts of this problem on society?"

FOUR lucky winners are selected, and each winner will receive $250!

The deadline is March 15, 2016, so hurry before it's too late!

For more information about the competition, visit the website.

#contest #apa #topss #yenakim #highschool #racialbias #stereotypes #prejudice #discrimination

  • Abby Flyer

Updated: Jan 5, 2020

Michelle, a secretary for a huge law firm, gets into a huge fight with her boss, Tom. She’s angry, so she begins to raise her voice. In an instant, he’s screaming back at her. Tom starts insulting her, and eventually she gets so nervous that she spills her cup of coffee on herself. Humiliated, Michelle takes the rest of the day off, unsure of how to handle the issue.

Famous psychologist Sigmund Freud identified the ego as the part of the mind responsible for balancing selfish wants with selfless morality. Not only is the ego the brain’s referee, but it also serves as a bodyguard for the sensitive parts of the mind. Freud believed that when a person experiences trauma, ego defense mechanisms kick into gear to prevent the person from acting in socially unacceptable ways.

One course of action that Michelle’s ego can take is removing the pressing memory of the event from her conscious memory. This is called repression, and it goes further than simply refusing to talk about an issue. Repression would prevent Michelle from acting on her feelings of anger by locking the memory away to a place where she would be unable to access it without therapy.

The humiliation of the fight at work may cause Michelle’s ego to seek to return her mind to a simpler, less traumatic state. Regression causes the mind to go back to childhood, so Michelle may feel the urge to call her mother to whine about her problems or curl up into the fetal position and cry.

Michelle’s ego may alternatively cause her to act in a way that is on the polar opposite of her original feelings of anger and humiliation. This is called reaction formation, and such a response may lead Michelle to act very friendly towards her boss the next day. Forming the opposite reaction towards Tom and being overly kind to her rude boss could help stop Michelle from being aggressive towards him, the latter of which could get her fired.

Another route Michelle’s handy dandy little mental bodyguard could take is projection. Because it’s not likely for Michelle to keep her job if she openly hates her boss, she may begin to believe that everyone else in the office hates Tom, too— even if they all like him perfectly well.

While Michelle cannot act on her feelings of rage against her boss, there are other people in her life over whom she does have power. Her ego may use displacement and cause Michelle to express her feelings of rage in other parts of her life. She may get into unnecessary fights with her best friend or scream at her boyfriend to get out her anger.

Michelle may also try to rationalize the anger she feels from her traumatic experience by looking for small reasons to justify her rage. It’s dangerous for her to accept that she still feels angry about the humiliating incident weeks after its occurrence, but she may feel less crazy if her fury is directed at the fact that Tom always takes too long making his coffee or the recurring number of times that he accidentally knocks pencils off of her desk as he passes by.

All of the above options may make Michelle feel a little better, but they’d ultimately make things even worse for her. Feeling like a child or getting into a fight with her best friend won’t help Michelle get over her humiliating experience. So instead, her ego decides to do her a favor and deal with her bubbling emotions through sublimation. Sublimation, like displacement, involves taking the unacceptable feelings and putting them somewhere else, but unlike displacement, sublimation turns bad impulses into something socially sublime and beneficial.

Michelle sits down with a pen and paper and writes down all of her feelings, and when she eventually invites Tom to see her perform her piece at a Slam Poetry night, she smiles at him, able to move on.

#sigmundfreud #ego #defensemechanisms #study #appsychology #repression #regression #reactionformation #projection #displacement #rationalize #sublimation