The vulnerability of children to images these days is frightening.

07 August 2007

Recently, an experiment was performed at Stanford in which children aged 3 to 5 were presented with various foods (including vegetables and milk, which a vanishing number of kids like anyway at that age), some wrapped in McDonald's packaging, and some in plain packaging. The children were asked to state which tasted better to them after trying the foods. Somehow unsurprisingly, they liked the foods that they thought were from McDonald's better, which says a lot for conditioning to particular images as well as the power of suggestion. People start assimilating ideas presented by advertising at an extremely young age, it seems, young enough that it begins to affect their perceptions in interesting ways. A lot of work goes into making things look bright, shiny, and most of all desirable - advertising hits all of those little buttons in the first four circuits of the brain that make us want to buy this or that, or go here or there almost like a pianist playing a sonata. It's a fine art that takes a light yet quick touch.

Parents to be should take note of this tactic when trying to get their little ones to eat their broccoli.