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The Omniverous Reader’s Dilemma: Hamburgers Regain Their Appeal

Voracious ingestion of the contents of a book leads not necessarily to lasting, author-desired consequences, suggests this study:

Reading a book can change your mind, but only some changes last for a year: food attitude changes in readers of The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” Julia M. Hormes, Paul Rozin, Melanie C. Green, and Katrina Fincher, Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 4, 2013. (Thanks to investigator Kerry Dorr for bringing this to our attention.) The authors, at the State University of New York, Albany, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, explain:

“We examined changes in attitudes related to food production and consumption in college students who had read Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma as part of a University-wide reading project. Composite attitudes toward organic foods, local produce, meat, and the quality of the American food supply, as well as opposition to government subsidies, distrust in corporations, and commitment to the environmental movement were significantly and substantially impacted, in comparison to students who had not read the book. Much of the attitude change disappeared after 1 year; however, over the course of 12 months self-reported opposition to government subsidies and belief that the quality of the food supply is declining remained elevated in readers of the book, compared to non-readers. Findings have implications for our understanding of the nature of changes in attitudes to food and eating in response to extensive exposure to coherent and engaging messages.”

BONUS: Joseph Brean explores the matter, in an article in the National Post

BONUS FACT, AND RELATED SUGGESTION: Most people spell “omnivorous” without using the letter “e”. Other people should be careful about checking the spelling of the word, lest they fling  an “e” into its gut when they write headlines.

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