Research Alert

New research out of Stanford Graduate School of Business indicates that when we’re encouraged to view the human body as a machine (a process called dehumanization) in an effort to promote health, we actually arrive at the opposite effect. 

In examining eating self-efficacy (confidence in ability to choose healthy food), researchers Andrea Weihrauch and Szu-chi Huang show that portraying humans as machines activates consumers’ expectation of adopting a machine-like approach to food - something too difficult to meet for those with low (vs. high) eating self-efficacy, thus leading to these divergent outcomes. 

 Using five studies to test this belief, the research digs into various human-as-machine representations inspired by anthropomorphism research, health education, marketing, and tech advancements (like AI).

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