Science is Disgusting

Actually “disgusting” is now a science. There has been research on how we associate “cooties” with certain things. For example, if you have a grocery cart full of items and the chocolate chip cookies end up next to the toilet bowl cleaner the cookies end up somehow less appealing to us due to their proximity to the thing we think is gross. It’s kind of like the old saw about laying down with dogs and getting up with fleas. They are using this research to rethink how items are arranged in a grocery store. In the past you would have one aisle for all the baby stuff – from diapers to formula. According to this research the baby food items would be more appealing if the diapers were elsewhere.

As someone who has had to go to the grocery store with babies I have to take issue with this thinking. If I have a toddler in the cart chewing on the package of cheese that I’m planning to purchase and an infant in the carrier screaming because they are wet/hungry/tired I don’t really care what looks appealing – I want everything on the same aisle so I can get what I need and get out. Now that my children are older I don’t really care because I will not be going to either area. I understand the point of the research and the conclusions but I think we take this stuff a bit far.

I don’t like it that someone will end up charging me more for my groceries because they have to pay some researchers who will tell them how to try to fool me into thinking I like something more or less because of what it is sitting next to on their shelf. If they want me to like it more – improve the quality and sell it at a decent price. Take out the trans fat and don’t waste, mistreat, or cheat anyone or thing in the manufacture of it. You can read an article about it here.
The next time I go to the grocery store I will be eyeing the arrangement of the displays with a new perspective. I hope the chocolate chip cookies don’t have “cooties”!

4 thoughts on “Science is Disgusting

  1. robin

    People spend way too much time and money on weird studies.

    I’ll eat cookies with “cooties” any day but there’s no way I’d drink that orange juice with the roach in it. yick.

  2. Dee Post author

    Thanks Robin and Carolyn! Carolyn – your article makes some good points and I have posted a response there. I would like to mention that one of the things that interests me about this research is how it would apply to folksonomy and tagging. Do our personal experiences affect tagging adversely or do they improve it’s accuracy or make it easier to search?

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