Final Brown Bag of the Semester – April 26, 2013

Rachel Bailey, Ph.D. Candidate: Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University

Title: Encoding Systems and Evolved Message Processing: Pictures Enable Action, Words Enable Thinking… the Special Case of Food and Advertising.



Food, when presented as tasty and ready-to-be-eaten, makes overcoming biological drives to consume difficult. For example, chimpanzees repeatedly make inappropriate decisions in these contexts, incapable of overriding their biological responses, but can make expedient decisions about items that only symbolize food. Extending these findings to how food is presented in advertising leads to interesting ideas.  In this talk, initial studies examining how the way food is presented in media affects processing will be discussed. These studies (Bailey, 2012; Bailey & Yegiyan, 2012; Bailey, Connolly & Lang, 2013) have found greater tendencies to approach ready-to-eat representations of food (e.g. a Big Mac) compared to symbols, or packages, of food (e.g. a Big Mac wrapper). But more importantly, when food was only symbolic, emotional responses were more nuanced and cognitive categorizations were easier to make. Thus, when food is merely symbolic, individuals can overcome their biological drives and respond in ways beyond a strictly appetitive response. Future research and real world implications for these findings will be discussed.

Speaker Bio:

Rachel Bailey is a PhD candidate at Indiana University in the Telecommunications Department. She will join Washington State University’s faculty soon where she will be the director of the Communication Cognition and Emotion Lab. Her research interests lie in the complex dynamics of how individual differences, variations in mediated messages and environments in which they are consumed come together to influence how media are processed, remembered and later acted upon.

Previous Post
Next Post
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: