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I have been involved in the design of nutrition labels for over 25 years and it still amazes me that they are not better than they could be, even just given what we already know and even more if we conduct a few well designed human factors studies. So whenever I see a new proposal, I am always eager to check it out.
The FDA has regulated food label nutrition claims such as ‘reduced sodium’ and ‘low fat’ since it began enforcing the Nutritional Label and Education Act in 1994. However, there has yet been no quantitative evidence that the FDA’s definitions of these quantifier terms correspond to consumers’ perceptions of what the terms mean. This study investigated three common quantifier terms used on food labels (reduced, low and free) in relation to four dietary components (fat, sugar, sodium and cholesterol).
We covered some of the likely human factors implications of automotive assist devices taking control of a driver’s steering in a recent post. The timing was perfect. In conjunction with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA recently conducted a study on lane departure warnings and blind spot monitors (to access the study you need a MA zip code such as 02188). Their findings provide an interest complement to what we discussed last month. We were looking a little further into the future. Their study has more immediate application.
If you are driving and make a jerky movement, would you be OK with the car taking over? If you had fallen asleep? If you had swerved to avoid an animal in the road?
The March 24th edition of Scientific American’s 60-Second Mind has a message that I think everyone who has studied human factors can relate to. The message: children are more likely to stop a risky behavior when parents explain to them the nature of the hazard and the possible consequences…