Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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See Cake, Don’t Eat Cake

A pretty interesting insight into weight loss from New Scientist, “Women shown the cake picture gave a higher priority to their healthy eating intentions than their counterparts shown the flower. They were also significantly more likely to pick the oatmeal cookie – which earlier tests showed was generally perceived as the healthier option.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about this sort of stuff lately (as I mentioned in Marketing Health). Clearly compliance is a big issue in health, as is evidenced by the millions of people a year who jump on the latest diet fad only to fall off the wagon within weeks or even days. I’ve been interested how my awareness of this sort of behavior effects my own attempts to make myself more healthy (for what it’s worth, I’ve been on a health kick for about a month that’s stuck so far). This cake study seems to be a similar idea: A reminder of what’s motivating you. Now the only question is how do you stop people from building up an immunity to this sort of reminder in the same way we (or I) ignore those emails from Basecamp after a week of a missed deadlines?

August 17, 2009