Eating Dogfood: Examining the Relative Roles of Reason and Emotion
William D. Schulze
Cornell University - Department of Economics
University of Pittsburgh; Cornell University
May 28, 2012
Psychologists have described the working of the human brain as a combination of two systems – a dual process model. One system is intuitive and automatic (System 1) and the other is reflective and rational (System 2). To determine what insights this model has for stigma – such as food fears of contamination – we elicited the willingness-to-pay for two stigmatized foods: a sandwich made of dog food and fat-free ice cream. We find critical evidence of a dual process decision making process in which the absence of cognitive load allows the participants to deliberate over the health benefits of either food. In contrast, there is an emotional component in which the positive emotion of surprise can favorably partially offset the negative emotion of disgust. This has notable implications for addressing food safety fears related to contamination as well as the food neophobia related to unfamiliar foods, processing, or preparation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 25
Keywords: stigma, dual process
JEL Classification: D11, D81, C91working papers series
Date posted: May 28, 2012
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