New paper on food choice and simple heuristics

We got a new paper out on how people (consumers) use simple rules to make food choices. This is work in collaboration with the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne.
Here is the reference:

Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Sohn, M., Bellis, E., Martin, N., & Hertwig, R. (2013). A Lack of Appetite for Information and Computation: Simple Heuristics in Food Choice. Appetite, 71, 242–251.


The predominant, but largely untested, assumption in research on food choice is that people obey the classic commandments of rational behavior: they carefully look up every piece of relevant information, weight each piece according to subjective importance, and then combine them into a judgment or choice. In real world situations, however, the available time, motivation, and computational resources may simply not suffice to keep these commandments. Indeed, there is a large body of research suggesting that human choice is often better accommodated by heuristics—simple rules that enable decision making on the basis of a few, but important, pieces of information. We investigated the prevalence of such heuristics in a computerized experiment that engaged participants in a series of choices between two lunch dishes. Employing MouselabWeb, a process-tracing technique, we found that simple heuristics described an overwhelmingly large proportion of choices, whereas strategies traditionally deemed rational were barely apparent in our data. Replicating previous findings, we also observed that visual stimulus segments received a much larger proportion of attention than any nutritional values did. Our results suggest that, consistent with human behavior in other domains, people make their food choices on the basis of simple and informationally frugal heuristics.

Sacher glazing …

When it comes to Sachertorte  the challenge starts towards the end – glazing the center piece after distributing the apricot jam.
Last weekend I was happy with the results I got which you can see here:













The left side shows the two pieces of cake after glazing – the right side after some more decoration work from my little one.

Two hints on getting this done right:
1) you want a lot of glazing – the more fumbling (ie distribution) that you have to do after poring it over the cake, the worse the result
2) you need a lot of sugar in addition to the chocolate so that the glazing does not become too hard.

Right, here are the three steps to a glazing that worked for me:













1) Melting the chocolate over hot water (roughly 250g)
2) cooking sugar (300g) with 1/8l water
3) cooling down the sugar until hand warm

Mix the two and stir (a lot) …
If things do not mix well, heat up the mixture again until things unite.
After cooling down the glazing a bit it pores easily over the cake and shines 🙂