Can gummy bears help us work together to conserve wild bears? Maybe!
One of the ways researchers get their subjects into a positive frame of mind is by handing them a piece of candy! Yep, you heard that right, the same thing you might do for an upset kiddo to calm a tantrum also makes grown-ups feel more positive in experimental settings.
And the effect on their choices after eating a sweet treat? Folks tend to be more flexible and creative in their thinking, as long as the task is interesting. And what’s more interesting to a bunch of activists and biologists than the species they care about?! A little bon bon can also help people be more creative in the way they categorize familiar objects, which may be useful when attempting to come up with innovative ways to conserve wildlife.
Perhaps we just need Haribo to sponsor future participatory planning processes, and see the next wave of conservation emerge!
Want to know more? See: Isen, A. M. (2008). Some ways in which positive affect influences decision making and problem solving. Handbook of emotions, 3, 548-573. And this one too: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3122271/
Happy National Candy Day!