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This content is taken from the EIT Food, University of Reading & European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)'s online course, Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 8 seconds Now let’s talk about a reader bias. We learned before there are two systems for cognitive processing. System one is intuitive. We know about a confirmation bias. You tend to believe headlines that confirm your previous beliefs. And also there is a negativity bias, as negative news seem more trustworthy than positive news. And moreover, the availability heuristics makes people believe in things they have read before simply because it looks familiar. The second system is called afterthought deliberative thinking. And even if we try to think rationally about what we read in headlines, there are many reasons why we fail to assess them correctly. The problem is that most readers have limited understanding on the language and the terminology of their nutrition.

Skip to 1 minute and 9 seconds For example, headline of “Eating fruit, vegetables, and cheese linked to a lower stroke risk.” So my question is, does “linked to” mean cause and effect? The second problem is the readers have problems with interpreting statistics. For example, headline, “Milk may not be as good for us as we thought.” So this headline includes a study with a bigger population– 100,000 people. So my question is, when we read this news, should we trust this news because the sample size is huge? So for all of these reader’s biases, we are going to address in the current course.

Reader bias

Watch this video and reflect on how personal experiences, unconscious and conscious biases, and tightly held values may affect the way we interpret food and nutrition science news reported in the media.

What bias do you think you might bring to your analysis? Share your thoughts in the discussion area below.


If you haven’t done so already, you may want to download the course glossary to help you get to grips with some of the terminology used in the course.

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This video is from the free online course:

Food and Nutrition: The Truth Behind Food Headlines

EIT Food