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Snakes, stigmas, & neophobia in the pandemic: Episode 62

Food Bullying Podcast

Release Date: 09/28/2020

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More Episodes

What role does disgust play in our fear of disease?  Why should we be careful about the language used to describe disease?  Dr. Tyler Davis is back to discuss how exotic foods are associated with “otherness." Neophobia (fear of new things) creates stigmas.  Bonus, Michele expresses her feelings about snakes. It's a great start to Season 7!

Dr. Tyler Davis is an associate professor of psychological sciences at Texas Tech University, where he directs the Cap Rock Lab. The Cap Rock lab is something that uses functional in neuro imaging to study cognitive neuroscience in categories, categorization, attitudes, and preference.

Key points:

  • We need to be careful about the language we use to describe disease because if we are unfamiliar with something there is more chance of misinformation.
  • If people believe a disease, such as Covid-19 originated from an exotic food source it is perceived as more risky and this creates a stigma around the disease and the country of origin.

  • In the United States, we don’t typically eat bats or snake (although some people eat rattlesnakes). We often don’t understand the importance of these animals to the food chain.  For example, bats control malaria by eating insects and are pollinators.

  • People also generalize the perceived risk of exotic foods (or disease) with the people who eat it.

  • Neophobia is the fear of new things. This plays into food bullying as identity-based avoidance technology, such as non-GMO, contributes to fear. Labels like “natural” prey on this fear.

  • To change perceptions we need to focus on the values of the group and how they identify around a fear.

Tyler Davis Three tips to overcome food bullying:

  1. Think about how food relates to your values
  2. Check that food claims actually mean what you think they mean. Ask why people want you to believe or identify with the claim.
  3.  Don’t assume people are different because they eat differently.

Links:

Dr. Tyler Davis on Twitter: https://twitter.com/flatlandneuro

Email: [email protected]

Food Bullying book with Michele Payn: http://foodbullying.com

Embrace Your Heart book  with Eliz Greene: http://www.embraceyourheart.com/

Food Bullying Podcast’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/foodbullyingpodcast