Just, David R.

April, 2009

By: Just, David R.; Wansink, Brian; Turvey, Calum G.
How would a possible food safety scare influence food consumption? Using techniques from experimental psychology, a study of 103 lunchtime participants suggests that a food scare--avian influenza--would decrease consumption of the affected food by 17% if the subjects believed it was naturally occurring, and by 26% if they believed it was the result of terrorism. While individual consumption decreased, very few eliminated all consumption of the affected food. We argue that experimental psychology is essential when attempting to study behavior in food safety where hypothetical scenarios and surveys would not capture the emotional nature of the response.

April, 2007

By: Chang, Hung-Hao; Just, David R.
This study uses a generalized Bayesian updating model to estimate the impact of health information appearing in the popular media on the consumption of eggs. The framework permits us to explore the possible effects of several known psychological biases in learning. Generalized Bayesian learning allows media publications to have a decaying effect on behavior. Our primary finding is that health information has a significant impact on U.S. egg consumption. Furthermore, the reaction to health information is found to be temporary. Health information will, on average, decay to a point of unimportance in a matter of a few weeks without a constant and consistent stream of confirming information.