Presentation of research on the role of nudge theory in food preferences written effectively for many audiences by National Post
The article linked in this post is a peer-reviewed version.
Richard Warnica, a writer for the National Post, reports on a research project conducted by Matheus Mistura, a graduate student in kinesiology with a focus on behavioural economics and nudge theory at the University of Victoria. Over 10 weeks, Mistura would subtly alter the hot food station at the University of Victoria’s cafeteria and recording what behaviours he observed. The objective of this study was to discover whether or not behavioural “nudges” could help students make better nutritional choices. More specifically, if fresh vegetables and posters led to an increase in vegetable selection. In addition to adding a raw vegetable option to the normal steamed vegetables, Mistura added visual cues to prime the minds of the students. The number of students eating from the hot food station and the section of those students that selected a hot vegetable was compared by repeating the process with the fresh vegetable added in. It is important to note that the results of this study are mixed, possibly due to many confounding factors such as other signs, the smell of other food or peer suggestion. Patti-Jean Naylor, the supervisor of Mistura, said: “there’s 10 to 15 nudges going on”.
Richard Warnica takes a very neutral and objective perspective on the study, stating what is known, what is not known and explains jargon in a digestible manner for the target audience. Additionally, Warnica includes direct quotes from the authors and states potential flaws in the research. Although the reporting on this specific article is adequate, Warnica fails to provide other perspectives from literature or researchers in this field. If other articles from established journals on behavioural nudging in cafeterias were provided, Warnica could provide a general direction in where research in this area is headed.
National Post author Richard Warnica looks into a study conducted by Matheus Mistura on the impact of behavioural “nudges” on eating habits of university students. Visual cues were added to a campus residence cafeteria bar to sway students into opting to add fresh vegetables to their plates.
This news story reviewed the article well, describing the scientific process that Mistura followed, as well as his and his supervisor’s opinions on the study and its results. However, the perspectives of other researchers not directly involved in the study were not included.
Although the title used could have been more informative of what the article entailed, the author used neutral language and reported findings accurately and honestly, even including a quote from the researcher on his disappointment of results following the second half of the study.
The author’s email and other publications are easily accessible, though no social media is apparent. The link to the original paper is also nowhere to be found, and there are quite a number of advertisements on the article page. Overall though, still a sound review of the paper and written well, earning it a 4.5/5 on the SciFeye index.
The views expressed by the reviewers for this article are not endorsed or shared by SciFeye. The interpretation of the review of the news story using the SciFeye Index was done independently by two SciFeye reviewers. We encourage you to conduct your own evaluation of the accuracy and quality of the news story using the Index.