The Psychology of Chemophobia – Part 5

Bananas contain unpronounceable ingredients, too What is chemophobia? The scientific community describes chemophobia as a “non-clinical prejudice” – rather like homophobia or xenophobia – that is, not a true medical phobia but a learned aversion to ingredients created in laboratories. Researchers Paul Slovic and Baruch Fischhoffidentified a number of affective characteristics that help to explain…

(Almost) Nothing is Truly ‘Natural’ – Part 4

Nothing on this table is natural – not even the fruits. The Basket of Apples by Cézanne Corn isn’t ‘natural’ In 2014, I created a series of infographics to help convey this message. Corn, for example, used to be a spindly grass-like plant called teosinte, which Native Americans farmed and bred through artificial selection until…

On the $$$ fuelling Chemophobia – Part 3

We’ve already asserted that chemophobia is an irrational psychological quirk thatgained traction after the environmental movement of the mid-1960s. But I don’t want to make such allegations without proof. In part 3 of this weekly series on chemophobia, I’ll show you some of the irrational conclusions that chemophobia leads us to make, and the psychology…

On the Pervasiveness of Chemophobia – Part 2

Would you drink water that’s been purified from sewage? Bill Gates did: “It’s water,” he says. “Having studied the engineering behind it… I would happily drink it every day. It’s that safe.” – Bill Gates He’s talking about the Omniprocessor in Seattle, USA, which illustrates perfectly the prevalence of chemophobia in our society. The Omniprocessor…