Underage and heavy drinking on college campuses continue to be issues for college administrators. While some campuses, such as the University of Missouri, have made strides in efforts to reduce heavy drinking on campus, administrators are continually trying to educate students about the risks of excessive drinking.
Now, two MU psychologists have found that students who viewed images of beer cans packaged and displayed in university colors believed that drinking beer was less dangerous than those students who saw images of regular beer cans.
"In this research, we wanted to determine if certain marketing strategies had an effect on whether individuals felt that a certain behavior – in this case, drinking beer – was more or less dangerous," said Chris Loersch, a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. "We found that when people identify themselves with a certain group, such as a college or university, and if that group 'endorses' a product, people assume the product is safe."
According to Loersch, previous studies had investigated how belonging to social groups can affect the behaviors or perceptions of individuals. Loersch said that groups can be close-knit, such as family relationships, or they can be broader, such as individuals who all attend the same university. In either case, people tend to feel a sense of trust and safety within their own groups, or what psychologists call "ingroups."
In the study, Loersch and Bruce Bartholow, associate professor of psychological sciences at MU, found that undergraduate participants who were briefly exposed to beer packaged in MU colors perceived beer drinking as safer than did participants who had seen images of standard beer cans. These feelings of safety existed even when participants were subliminally exposed to the word "beer," providing evidence that the fan cans affect people's unconscious responses toward beer. Loersch said that this research did not investigate whether this change affected actual drinking behavior.
"Previous research has consistently demonstrated that people view members of their social groups as trustworthy and safe," Loersch said. "Our research indicates that this sense of interpersonal safety for ingroup members appears to extend to a product that, via its packaging, conveys cues for group affiliation. These results are important given that alcohol consumption is associated with unsafe behavior, often leading to increases in risk-taking, aggressiveness and likelihood of serious injury."
In the research, Loersch and Bartholow conducted three experiments. University of Missouri students were randomly assigned to view either a standard beer can or a fan can with MU colors along with other beverages. Participants in the first experiment rated beer consumption as less dangerous after having seen the fan can compared to the regular beer can. In the second experiment, participants who first saw the fan can were faster to recognize words indicating safety, and slower to recognize words indicating danger, than were participants who first saw a regular beer can. In the third experiment, participants who saw a fan can rated the local social scene as less dangerous compared to participants who saw a regular beer can or a bottle of water presented in university colors.
"Evidence-based prevention strategies focus on helping students accurately assess the risks associated with drinking," said Susan O'Neill, a psychologist with the MU Student Health Center. "Marketing campaigns that alter drinkers' perceptions of alcohol's potential risks -- particularly at an automatic or unconscious level -- have no place in college communities. Challenging the aggressive promotion of drinking, whether by campus social groups or national corporations, is important to create a campus culture that encourages responsible drinking."
The study was published recently in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Christian Basi | EurekAlert!
The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses