Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Did you know that most young children are reluctant to try new foods? There's even a name for this: food neophobia. I'm sure that's not all the surprising. But did you also know that research shows that offering a new food several times, a day or two apart, will likely lead to success of a young child liking a new food? There is an old pediatrics adage that believes that seventh time of introducing a new food to a child will get the food on the "yes" list.

And it's not only items and practices at the beginning of our life to which this adage pertains. Independent marketing research would suggest that salespersons attempt to receive at least seven affirmative responses to their product, so as to make the buyer more inclined to purchase (i.e. Do you believe education is important for you and your children? Do you think book reading is a helpful way for self-education? Wouldn't it be nice for every household to have a set of encyclopedia DVDs?, etc.).

And it was in an educational psychology course that I was instructed that the development of human behavior and information integration is predicated on the ability to practice and/or be exposed to new stimuli, information or actions on at least seven consecutive occasions.

Add to this particular phenomena, that research also suggests that by the pre-teen age, a person's ability to be creative and assimilate new information decreases considerably.

Knowing all of that, why is it that we think that:

  • we can develop exercise habits overnight that brings our weight into check?
  • we can completely revamp our dietary patterns to lose that extra 20 pounds by next week's wedding?
  • we can develop an affinity for a particular dish from the very first taste?
  • we can develop the skill and love of a sport or hobby from one amateur attempt at it?
  • we become skilled at any task on the first time out?
  • we can develop an appreciation for art from one single visit to a museum or theatre?
  • we can develop an understanding for another culture from a solitary encounter?

It's most likely imbedded in our very DNA: the ability and drive to try and try again. And yet, our present society seems to promote a sense of immediate gratification; if it doesn't feel good or taste good the first time, move on to something else... and, at times, to the detriment of our innate drive to try and try again.

So, fight the urge this week to give up that new exercise regiment after only one session or give up on a particular hobby because the result of your first project didn't turn out the way you planned. Try and try again... well, at least seven times.

And in that spirit, try that sushi one more time. I already had my seven chances with it and it's just not for me. But I will have another go at that calamari.

hoedl's haven
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