The Impact of Marketing our Health

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

When shopping at their local grocery store shoppers are immersed into a world of marketing with advertisements around every corner. One marketing tactic customers see in within grocery stores is the placement of snacks in the checkout line. Often times people impulse buy these unhealthy snacks while waiting in line to pay for their items, this has become a major health concern when it comes to the impact of product placement on the decisions shoppers make. Five psychologists from the United Kingdom completed two longitudinal studies, in which they observed the habits of shoppers, and found by removing unhealthy snacks from the checkout line shoppers purchase less unhealthy food items. 

  Stores around the United Kingdom began to voluntarily remove candy, potato chips, and chocolate from their checkout lines in 2013 to promote healthier lifestyles. Researchers used this as an opportunity to observe how peoples shopping habits were impacted by the change. Participants in the study were regular customers of the chosen grocery stores. Psychologists believe this sample fairly represents the overall population of the United Kingdom, due to their diversity in many different areas including occupation, location, social status, age and gender. Participants were not assigned to groups due to the observational nature of both studies. Researchers of the first study accessed the data bases of six different stores and tracked purchases from 30,000 households in the United Kingdom one year before and one year after the policy regarding the removal of unhealthy snacks in the checkout line was implemented. The researchers found that these shoppers purchased 17% less unhealthy food immediately after the change was made, this number slightly decreased to 15% by the end of the study. From the years 2016 to 2017 the researchers completed an additional study in which they asked 7,500 regular shoppers if to complete a survey about snacks they purchased and ate before returning home. The surveys showed 76% less unhealthy snacks were purchased by these participants over the course of the year. Both studies show a correlation between the removal of unhealthy snacks in the checkout line and shoppers purchasing less unhealthy food within United Kingdom grocery stores. Additional research must be completed to determine whether the removal of candy, potato chips, and chocolate from checkout lines was the true cause of the change in shopping habits. 

The psychologists hope through this research they are able to promote healthier lifestyles for citizens of the United Kingdom. Providing the results to shoppers can help them to gain an understanding how marketing influences their decisions and may help them to be more aware of their tendency to purchase these unhealthy snacks. Their ultimate goal is to send their results to government agencies, in an attempt to persuade them to become more actively involved in helping to ensure the good health of their citizens.


The psychology in the media project has helped me to realize that often times information that we see portrayed in news articles is times not completely accurate to the actual research. It is important to read through the original source to ensure the news article is providing accurate information to readers. As I learned through this assignment journalists are typically restricted by word limits and are forced to leave out important information as a result. In order to ensure that my readers are able to understand the original study I incorporated how the researchers conducted the experiment to give readers the background of where the data came from within my summary. I also kept the five critical questions for reading research in mind to ensure that each one could be answered. I was forced to leave out certain details that were not necessarily important for the reader to comprehend the results of the study. 

 The pop culture article greatly differed from mine as a result of Ben Renner having the opportunity to speak with two out of the five researchers involved in the study. His article mainly focused on their thoughts and perspectives on the experiment, whereas mine focused on data and research methods. The summary I wrote lacks the attention-grabbing words the pop culture article contained as a result of being more data focused, resulting in a less interesting article to read. Ben Renner failed to address all five critical questions for reading research, such as how the researchers operationalized their variables and that researchers are unable to make causal claims due to the observational nature of the study. However, as previously stated, I ensured that readers could easily locate all five them within my summary.            

Through this assignment I was able to gain a better understanding of journalism, writing, and what it takes to complete a psychological study. Writing a news article about scientific research is an extensive process that requires the complete comprehension of the study and the ability to determine what information is vital for readers to understand the research and results. It is essential for an author to include answers to all five critical questions to show the credibility of the information. The balance between making a news article factual and enjoyable for the reader is difficult to achieve within the restrictions that journalists are given. I also came to the realization that it is equally important for readers to compile their own research to ensure they are getting accurate information and are able to formulate their own judgements regarding the study. 

Works Cited

Ejlerskov, K. T., Sharp, S. J., Stead, M., Adamson, A. J., White, M., & Adams, J. (2018). Supermarket policies on less-healthy food at checkouts: Natural experimental evaluation using interrupted time series analyses of purchases. PLOS Medicine. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1002712

Renner, Ben. “Removing Sweets from Grocery Store Checkout Lines Leads To ‘Dramatic’ Drop in Unhealthy Purchases.” Study Finds, 2 Jan. 2019,



Ch 12-Social

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

Implicit association tests are used to find any biases that we have and are unaware of. The two tests I chose to take were, do you implicitly associate yourself with being happy or sad and do implicitly think people with mental illness are dangerous. The first test found that I am more associated with happy then sad. The second one said that I do not associate people with mental illness as being dangerous. I expected these results because I am generally a very happy person and I try my best not to judge others based on things they cannot control, such as their mental health. 

 I understand that they are purposely placing the words, in the section with the E and I test to see which ones a person messes up in order to determine if they associate those two things together. For example, when they switched the words from being “others” and “sad” to “others” and “happy” I frequently mixed up which answer goes where. I learned to associate one word with one side and when they changed them that caused me to get them incorrect. As a result of this, I don’t think this is an accurate representation of how people actually feel when it comes to these topics.   

Looking at the tests I think it could potentially help college students to gain a better understanding of how they view themselves or others. They can then use this information to work on not stereotyping others or cause them to reach out and get help if they are experiencing frequent sadness.

Ch 9- Intelligence

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

Intelligence is both impacted by one’s genes and their environment. Most children spend six to eight hours each day sitting in a classroom. In these classrooms kids learn not only facts and math skills, but how to behave in certain social situations as well. Throughout school I was fortunate enough to have teachers who truly cared about my peers and me. One of my favorite teachers was my high school physics teacher, Mr. Daugherty. He was passionate about helping students learn, regardless if you were enrolled in his class or a different teacher he would gladly sit down and ensure that you understand each concept. Mr. Daugherty made class engaging though hands-on labs to explain physics concepts to his students. I think all educators should follow in his footsteps by implementing more hands-on learning and ensuring that the students are not only memorizing facts but understanding concepts. 

Mr. Daugherty made school about learning again, not simply the memorization of random information. Unfortunately, school has become a place where obtaining a good grade is more important than actually learning. The teachers are not at fault for this, they typically want what is best for their students, the school system is failing their students. Schools are often times not adequately funded teachers and other staff are underpaid, the teaching materials are out dated, and schools lack transportation for all students. These have a major impact on how well students will do in their classes, the more money a school has the more resources they will have for their students to succeed. Thankfully my parents choose to live in a wealthier school district, where many of these things were not an issue for me. 

Ch 11- Stress

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

As most college students I experience stress quite often, although I do believe that I am able to manage it well. I typically use stress as a motivator to get work done, rather than waiting until the last minute I try to complete assignments on the day they are given to me. With tasks that will take more time, like studying for exams or writing papers, I like to do a little bit at a time, so I am not overwhelmed. This way I know that I won’t not need to rush last minute to get my work done and it helps me to keep my stress levels low. Another thing I tend to do when I am stressed out is clean. It helps me to focus my energy on something besides the stressor for a little while, I also feel as though I am able to focus better when my room is clean and organized. 

When I begin to feel overwhelmed with something I go for a walk around campus. The walks give me the opportunity to organize my thoughts and spend time outside, which I love. Then I am able to return to my work with a new perspective. Sometimes I will even go for a short drive with the windows down and the music up, to clear my head. 

These strategies have been very effective for me to manage my stress; however, the stress cleaning can take up quite a bit of time. To improve upon this, I will try to keep my room as clean as possible to not get distracted by the mess during stressful times. 

Ch 10- Emotion

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

In Dan Gilbert’s TED Talk he discusses the idea of happiness. We are able to create happiness within our minds, as opposed to finding happiness as we tend to believe. He called this synthetic happiness, it allows us to feel happy with the outcome of an event even when things don’t go as planned. Psychological studies have shown that three months after a positive or negative experience all people have the same level of happiness. I found this to be very interesting, because once I think about this I do it all the time. For example, at the time doing poorly on an exam seems like the worst thing in the world, but even just a month later it is not a huge deal. In addition, Gilbert stated often times we build up these expectations for something in our minds and the actual event does not live up to what we hoped. Knowing about synthetic happiness will allow me to reduce my stress levels, because I now understand that these seemingly important events won’t matter in a few weeks. It will also reduce the amount of time I spend building things up in my mind only to be disappointed by the actual event. 

Gilbert spoke with confidence and appeared to know what he was talking about by using data from past experiments that he conducted. To ensure that he is a credible source I read about him on the TED website. I learned that he is a Harvard psychologist who studies happiness, making him an even more credible as the source for this information. 

Chapter 3- Sleep

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

Many college students are sleep deprived, but I do not consider myself to be a part of this group. I believe that my sleep habits are much better than many of my peers. During the week I typically go to sleep around midnight and wake up around 9:00 in the morning, so on average I get about nine hours of sleep each night. There is one day each week where I need to be awake by 7:00 in the morning. I go to bed around the same time and go to class with only seven hours of sleep, on these days I tend to be a little more tired than usual. I try to finish my homework by 10:30 at night so I am able to have time to relax before I go to bed. On the weekends I tend to stay up later and sleep in later, still averaging nine hours each night.

I know I get enough sleep each night, because I wake up in a good mood and I have enough energy to get through the day. Although, I do think there are some areas at which I can improve. I would make my schedule more consistent by going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, rather than continue to stay up late and sleep in. I would also use my phone less before going to bed. I have noticed that the light from my phone is causing me to stay up later and it takes me longer to fall asleep.

Chapter 8- Memory

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

There are some memories that are permanently engrained in our minds, I know that one I will never forget is Parkland, Florida shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School. I vividly remember one year ago on Valentine’s Day a bomb threat was placed on my school, we were rushed out of my school and told to walk go the gym at a nearby college. I remember the immediate fear I felt when hearing about the threat, fortunately the kid that made the threat did not actually plant bombs throughout the school. All of the students were bussed home as soon as they discovered the threat was nothing more than a threat. On that silent bus ride our phones all received notifications from numerous news sources regarding the Parkland incident. A thousand things went through my mind, that could have easily been my school all over the news.  I was disgusted, horrified and disappointed in humanity. The only thing on television all day was this event and talking about past school shootings.

Events similar in nature these are so significant and change our world views. The shock and horror we feel as they unfold before our eyes is so significant that our minds permanently engrain them. I believe the strong emotions, historical significance, along with the personal connection we make causes these events to become impossible to forget. Some memories aren’t kept as vividly, as the result of the brain being unable to store all the events that occur in our lives. The most significant and important are stored and the ones that are not important are forgotten.

Chapter 7- Violence in Video Games

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

The increase in violence in the media has piqued the concern in many Americans, especially when it comes to video games. Growing up I played video games with my siblings, most of which contained some form of violence. None of us became violent people as a result of these games, because my parents took proper precautions to ensure we knew the consequences of our actions if we mimic the behavior in real life. In addition to this, my parents also monitored what we were doing on these games and our behavior afterword. If they believed they were inappropriate for us they would confiscate them until they thought were mentally prepared.

I believe that it is the responsibility of the parents to determine whether or not their child has the mental capacity for violent video games, like my parents did. If a child is incapable of understanding the consequences of violence in real life, they should not be given permission to play violent games. Video game companies are required to place age limits for purchasing violent games and stores are required abide by the rules and will not sell games to children if they are under the age limit. The only option for obtaining these games for the child is if their parent or another adult buys it for them, ultimately making it the parents responsibility.

Overall, I believe that the regulations put in place ensure that the correct age group has access to these types of video games are very beneficial. When video games are used responsibly violence is not an issue.   

Chapter 4: Parenting Styles and Development

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

Parenting styles can have major impacts on the different ways in which children become adults. Personally, I believe that each child has different needs, which will in turn affect the way that they are raised. For example, my parents have always been very lenient with my siblings and I, we never had strict rules because we were well behaved for the most part. In contrast, I have friends whose parents were more strict which worked well within their family dynamic.

I personally believe that the ideal parenting style would be the authoritative parenting, because they tend to what their child needs in addition to having high standards for their behavior. This style incorporates all of the positive aspects from helicopter parenting, tiger moms and jellyfish dads. Parents need to protect their child and ensure that they have some control over them from the point of view from helicopter parenting. Being too overbearing can result in the child defying and hiding things from their parents. The positive outlook on tiger moms is that they push their children to be the best that they can be. However too much pressure on the child can create high stress levels concerning their parent’s expectations, ultimately resulting in health complications. The last aspect of authoritative parenting is jelly fish dads, some leniency and freedom can be good for a child. Giving the child too much freedom at a young age can create issues with listening and executing tasks once they enter the work force or higher education. Once two people become parents they must consider what would be most beneficial for their child and find the perfect balance of discipline and freedom.

Theoretical Lenses in Psychology

--Original published at Maddy Vingom's PSY105 Blog

According to the psychodynamic perspective Miguel may be arguing with his roommate as a defense mechanism known as displacement. He uses his roommate as a substitute for his anger and takes it out on him by picking fights. This behavior may also be influenced by Miguel’s past experiences or conflicts within his unconscious mind. For example, there is a possibility that as a child Miguel’s parents may have pressured him to do well in school which resulted in his need for perfection in his work.

The behaviorist perspective focuses only on how environmental factors influence a person’s response to a specific situation. In Miguel’s case the environmental factor may be the school he is attending, pressuring him to be perfect and greatly criticizing his work. Forcing his mind to make him to feel like any minor mistake he makes could be costly.

A psychologist using the humanist perspective views people as innately good and issues are the result of deviance. One way they may explain Miguel’s behavior toward is roommate and the way he views his work is caused by some form of deviance. They may also claim that he doubts himself as the result of his subjective perspective. As outsiders we view Miguel’s situation differently than him, he also has personal feelings that are affecting the way that he is reacting to the situation.

The cognitive perspective studies the mental processes. In Miguel’s case he is fighting with his roommate, losing sleep, and having doubts about his school work because he is struggling to process all of that information at one time.

The neuroscience perspective is used by psychologists to explain behavior though the biological level. They would say that Miguel potentially has a gene that causes this behavior, hormonal imbalance or issues with neural pathways within his body.

Cultural psychologists study the influence of a person’s culture on their behavior. They would claim that where Miguel is from caused him to stress about the coursework he is struggling with to the point where he feels that it must be perfect. He may also be lashing out on his roommate as a result of this behavior being normal in his family.