Who has not been fascinated as a child, and why not say even now, with that famous magic land of chocolate created by the quirky Mister Wonka? Who has not dreamed to drink some chocolate from the river of the Willy Wonka Factory? How many of us have opened a chocolate expecting to find that famous ‘Golden Ticket’ that will open us the doors, to what my boyfriend likes to call, the ‘Fairy Tale of Chocolate’? How many of us in our poor attempt to get that ticket have actually asked their parents to take them to the Wonka Factory to see the Oompa Loompas? (My childish boyfriend did!).  To all those Willy Wonka chocolate lovers, I would like to say that that their dreams are not far from reality as Heston Blumenthal is here to make our chocolate fantasies come true. According to the Daily mail, Heston Blumenthal has often been called “The Willy Wonka of the culinary world for his magical creations” (click here). Blumenthal and Channel 4 made it possible to recreate our childhood with the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory Feast! You might be wondering, what is all that fuss about chocolate? How important has chocolate become in the market? Why are consumers engaged to have such a chocolate experience?

According to Speciality Food Magazine, the Chocolate Industry in the United Kingdom is estimated to be worth £3.6 billion in 2008 (click here). In fact, the World Atlas of Chocolate pointed out that the United Kingdom was considered to be number seventh in the rank of chocolate consumption in the world (click here).  The average expenditure of chocolate per head in that year was fifty-seven pounds. Although the chocolate market expected a decrease in the figures of consumption due to recession, the economic situation did not affect drastically the passion that the British consumers have for the product. The product continued its growth on an average of 4% in 2008, with possible projections to expand each of the following years in 5% (click here).  The chocolate market has also faced ethical issues in regards to child labour.  The horrifying fact is that many British consumers are not aware where those delicious chocolate come from.  Children from Ghana mainly have been exploited to collect the cocoa seeds from trees. Most of these children have been trafficked by their own relatives for money. The USA State department pointed out the alarming figure of 100,000 children exploit by the chocolate industry (click here). There have been efforts by chocolate companies to change this reality due to fact that consumers want purchase products from organizations that act ethically. Therefore, the largest chocolate companies in the world are currently engaging into fair business practices and investing in the protection of its employees (click here).

The chocolate Industry has given individuals such a pleasurable and indulgent experience which can be analysed from a psychological perspective. Previous connections have been done between chocolate and emotional changes. Macht and Dettmer (2006) suggested that the consumption of chocolate is related to the induction of positive emotions in the individual. (http://worldcocoafoundation.org/scientific-research/research-library/documents/Thamke2009.pdf).  However, the induction of mood is more effective when the individual is currently experiencing negative emotions. Macht and Muller (2007) exposed woman and men to watching different types of films by which the result states that chocolate was more effective to improve the individual’s mood when they watched a sad film (click here). Even though scientists have tried to prove that the composition of chocolate is the reason for the consumer’s addiction to the product, we do not really feel attracted by the sweetness of the product but our cravings have been found to be based on fat (click here).  Moreover, studies have proved that binge eating is actually related to depression. Individuals think that overeating is a way to avoid those negative emotions such as stress, anxiety and sadness. Chua, Touyz and Hill (2004) experimented with obese people to see if there was a relationship between food craving and emotions (click here).  They found out that whenever the individual was exposing to a negative mood, there was a higher rate of food cravings.

The new tendency to supress depression has lead individuals to unconsciously increase their cravings for chocolate. Although eating chocolate can be the most enjoyable experience ever, we must make sure that we are eating it for the right reasons. It is not right for us to try to indulge our sadness on chocolates or other types of food; it may lead to other sickness such as obesity. Do you think you are eating chocolate for the right reasons?


Très Miss, Très Dior!

It was the first gift I opened on my fifteenth birthday; I wore it the first time I went to Paris with my friends, I wore it the first time I went out to party, I used it for the 40th anniversary of my parents’ marriage, I decided to use it on the wedding of my older brother, I put it on the first birthday of my adorable and cheeky nephew, I wore it on my graduation on 2011, I used it in my nine month anniversary with my boyfriend… Miss Dior has been with me on all those special moments of my life.

The Perfume Industry has established its position in the UK Market with sales that rose to £607 million in 2007, with an expected growth of 5% for the following year (click here). Although some people in the perfume industry had its concerns about the effect that recession would have in sales, it turn out to that there was not a substantial decrease in the consumers purchasing patterns, but it influenced their current choices in fragrance. According to Euromonitor International (2011), the United Kingdom witnessed an increase of sales that reached to £1 billion in 2010, which implied a 7% growth in the fragrance market (click here). Recession had an impact on the creation of fragrance brands as the releases of perfumes had a tendency to be more conservative by using floral and oriental accords. The recession has made fragrance brands more conservative in their creation by using floral and oriental accords. Coty Ltd is one of most the predominant company in the world not only because of its sales on the beauty department but it is known for its significant figures in fragrances. The net sales of the company in 2010 were worth $3.6 billion from which 62% came from their sales in perfumes, being Europe the niche of their profitable sales with 57% of the worldwide market (click here).

Fragrances have been used the beginning of the human history with a background that goes in time long before the Greeks and the Romans. Its use in traditional ceremonies makes no difference to what our consumers currently apply it for, but its use in today’s society has expanded. People do not only wear fragrances for particular occasions but to make an impression on other individual’s based on their perceptions.  According to a survey done by the Olfactory Research Fund in 1997, 38% of the individuals interviewed said that they use perfume in order to have higher ratings of attractiveness on other individuals (click here). Women (specially between the age of 25-49) stated that they are looking for a fragrance that makes them feel sexy (click here). Fox (n.d) stated that: “Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion” (click here). The individual chooses their perfume based on the sensations that it evokes to them. These sensations are related to previous memories and experiences, evoking either a positive or negative feeling on the consumer. Moreover, fragrances can have an influential effect on the individual’s emotions. Aroma-chonology is a science that has been developed in order to study the psychological effects that fragrance has over the human behaviour. The Olfactory Research fund described aromas as a way to “enhance the journey of the aging process”.  It has been proven that aromas can induce and enhance positive moods to people who suffer of depression or stress (click here). On a survey conducted by Mintel (2011), women stated that one of the reasons to switch fragrances is to change mood (71%) [click here].

Daly and White (1930)  that: “The functioned significance of perfume may not be for the purpose of the disguising or masking natural body odor, but to heighten and fortify natural odor” (http://instruct.uwo.ca/biology/336/perfume.pdf). The preferences in fragrance go beyond the simple explanation of perceptions and feelings. The Major Histocompability Complex (MHC) plays an important role on how humans perceive the body odor.  An interesting quote related to this matter was stated by Seebeck, Bettens and Paepke (2006): “Among humans, there is variation in the size and the number of glands on the skin, variation in gland activity, and obvious variation in the number and density of those body hairs that amplify odors through their support of microorganisms and their role in odor diffusion. However, our personal perception can easily mislead us when it comes to the generality of odor quality and intensity” (click here). A research conducted by Milinski and Wedekind (2001) tried to see the correlation between the MHC and preferences in individuals fragrances (click here). Through the experiment, the researchers found out that people feel more attracted to other individuals who do not have the similar MHC trait. Individuals feel attracted to these differences as a mean to provide them of immunological differences. The experiment also did not indicate that there was a relationship between the two variables of MHC and gender in the selection of perfumes.

Although some consumers might think that choosing a perfume is simple activity, it can be consider by psychologists as a science. There are psychological considerations that we are not aware of but it will influence significantly on our purchasing choices.  Marketers have to be aware of not only the previous considerations, but also that individuals are trying to find a perfume that will unveil their personality and individuality so that they can apply the most appropriate approach in the advertising of these perfume brands.  My perfume says that I am flirty, playful, fun and sweet. What does your perfume tell about yourself?


The deadline for the assignment is getting closer. Words cannot come to your head. You feel like your brain has been drained. You cannot help to distract yourself with FACEBOOK. It seems like Rita has not wasted her time and purchase some new pair of tits and big round ass! I wonder, how can she….? Maybe I should ask my dad for some of those for my birthday (Giggles).You look at the time, it nearly 3:15pm. Great! You really did it this time! Deadline is in approximate in 1hr 45 minutes. You manage have wasted an hour of your time looking at pictures of those BOUNCING BETTIES and that VOLUPTOUS JLO ASS! You start to feel anxieties, nervousness, pain in the chest…In that moment you realise you are under STRESS!

Researchers have defined stress “as state in which individuals are faced with the need to make difficult or undesirable changes in order to adapt to events and situations in their lives” (click here). The changes in the demands of the woman’s role in today’s society has substantially increased the rates of stress. The Health and Safety Executive organization found out that overall there is an estimate of 400,000 out of 1, 152,000 cases that are related to stress in Great Britain. Although some people would think that male have higher levels of stress, figures have proved differently. Females have shown higher rates of stress than men with an approximate of 125,000 female cases over the 86,000 male cases (click here) in the United Kingdom. Moreover, the American Psychological Association reported that overall women suffer of more stress than men by 8%; woman are expected to have physical and emotional symptoms than men by 11% and that woman would stress more about economic issues than men by 7% (click here).

The new role of woman has implied new challenges, concerns and responsibilities in their lives. There are higher expectations in the achievement of success, not only in their personal life but on the academic and work fields, as woman are trying to position as a stronger individual in society. Stress can be related to perception of the individual. Butler (1993) pointed out that stress can rise when the demands seem to exceed the resources in the eyes of the individual (click here).Woman can perceived differently the difficulty of tasks according to their personal knowledge and their range of abilities. An activity that can cause stress to a woman might be a pleasurable task to another. There are some woman that seem to find numbers stressful while others find it enjoyable and easy. Mosher (1998) stated that perception does not only involve the collection of data into our system, but it is related to the interpretation that we give to that data based on our previous experiences (click here).

According to a study conducted by Agolla and Ongori (2009), stress can be the result of academic overload, low motivation in students, poor academic performance and the uncertainty of what the future holds for them (click here).  Nowadays, students are not only concerned about their academic performance but they have to balance their student life with work in order to afford their expenses.  The National Restaurant Association in the United States found out that 28% of their employees were under the age of 20 (click here ). Globalization has implied the merge of economies which has led to high competitiveness in the labour market.  In today’s work framework, organizations need employees who have wider knowledge and have the capacity to apply learning and adapt to the constant changes which they are exposed to.  The fact that a student goes to university does not guarantee that they will get a job. This is causing stress and concern amongst undergraduate students who find it hard to feel motivated.

Stress does not only have an effect on the individual but also on organizations in terms of productivity and performance. Studies have shown that stress can generate economic losses to businesses.  The cost of work-related stress in 2007-2008 was approximately £4 billion each year (click here). This cost can be translated into absenteeism, turnovers, resignation, work related accidents, sickness and impaired decision making.  Stress at work can develop for several reasons.  Subbulaxmi, et.al (2002) points out that “the psychological sources of stress may be due to a particular situation such as boring job, inability to socialize, and lack of autonomy, responsibility of results, no sufficient authority, unrealistic objectives, role ambiguity, role conflict and dual career marriages” (click here) . The Psychological demand/decision latitude Model describes two dimensions and four work environments. The first one describes that the employee needs certain skills and to keep a constant intense work with their colleagues; and the second relates to the degree of freedom and creativity that the employee has to make their own decisions. In the chart below you can see that the most adverse work environment is the high strain where there are high psychology demands in the job and there is low decision latitude (click here). The higher implications have caught the attention of organizations who are constantly doing surveys and interventions to reduce the stress at work by doing job rotations or giving more challenges and freedom in decision-making.`

The best way to avoid stress is to learn to manage our time. Time management allows us to relax and still be able to do the do the activities we enjoy the most.  However, if you get caught up by stress, you should do activities that you will find inner peace such as Yoga or Pilates. Personally if I get caught up on stress, an effective way I found to release it, is by doing sports like volleyball. I get to hit the ball as many times as possible and release that negative energy. Stress can be the causes of diseases like high blood pressure and heart diseases. We need to find ways to prevent this psychological disease. Lets fight stress, shall we?!


In 2006, the music world was the spectator of the rise of a new pop star Justin Bieber. Who did not fall in love with the thirteen year old singer with the release of his debut single “Baby”? Who has not sung their lungs out to “Somebody to Love”? How many of us cried when we heard “Pray”? (I did!) How many of us have had a hard time to resist the “Bieber Fever”? Social networks such as Twitter and Facebook have been overload by thousands of fans post on the artist. So what makes us connect to artists like Justin Bieber? Do we find a connection to the artist through their lyrics? Do we identify ourselves on the songs they compose? Do our music choices give a sense of our identity and personality?

The Music Industry in the United Kingdom is considered to be the third largest in the world. Its total value was estimated to be of £3.9 billion in 2009 (click here), accounting for 12% of the global sales (click here). However, due to world economic changes, the United Kingdom has presented a substantial fall down to an amount of £190 million on 2010. Even though the so called digital music was expected to revolutionize the music market share value, it turned out that the actual drop in revenue was affected by the physical sales and the piracy issue has had an economic impact (click here). Chairman of the British Recorded Music Industry, Tony Wadsworth, stated that: “The defining characteristic of the UK’s recorded music market is its overwhelming potential for overseas success. It is our extraordinary ability to convert domestic success into international acclaim that really sets our music economy apart and gives us a unique position in the global music market” (click here).

Music can be described as tool that allows individuals to perceive the world. It evokes emotions, as well as it plays the role of an instrument that allows us to express ourselves to the people that surround us. Our individual choices in music have to do with our identity. It could be said that it is an expression of us, as we find a connection with the lyrics of our particular song choices based on personal life experiences. Nicholas Cook (1998) pointed out: ‘In today’s world, deciding what music to listen to is a significant part of deciding and announcing to people not just who you “want to be” . . . but who you are” (click here ).  The description of our self-identity goes far beyond emotions and feelings, but it also unveils our values, beliefs and culture. A study conducted by Padilla and Perez (2003) shows that social identity can be understood by the different musical forms of each culture (click here).  Nowadays, artists use music as an instrument to express our beliefs about particular social topics such as war or racism. When United States declared war to Iraq in 2003, artists such as Good Charlotte, Green Day and Metallica used their voice to express its disagreement with Bush.  A particular song that caught my attention was “B.Y.O.B” by System of a Down: “Why don’t presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor? Why don’t presidents fight the war? Why do they always send the poor?”.

In addition to this, music is a reference to others about our group preferences.  According to Knobloch, Vorderer & Zillmann (2000), individuals are expected to form a positive evaluation of another individual if they have similar music preferences (click here).  Teenagers seem to have found music as a common instrument to form social groups and to create perception for outsiders.  A research conducted by Bakagiannis and Tarrant (2004) analysed two variables: music identity and expected interaction.  The researchers grouped 97 adolescents into two groups (in-group and out-group). The later procedure was to tell a third of those individuals that they shared similar music taste with the two groups; the other third was told that there were differences in their musical taste; and finally the other third was told no specific detail about music taste. The results clearly showed that teenagers are more willing to put an effort in the interaction with other individuals who share the same music taste. (click here). High school students tend to group themselves based on musical similarities. There are the girls who will always be the eternal Bieber fans, the girls who will never stop listening to Britney Spears not matter how many times she shaves her hair and goes insane, the so called geek guys whose appearance might disguise you that they have classical musical preference but who transform themselves in rap stars whenever they are alone in their rooms or the unforgettable Goths who like dark, sad, depressive songs.

In a world where not only teenagers but adults have also found a way to express themselves, music has become a worldwide language that raises the voice of thousands of people. It creates a perception of individuals throughout a representation of our emotions through our musical preferences. Songs like “Never say Never” not only motivates and inspires people to keep strong, but it can be representation of our identity. The song represents how strong and perseverant I had to remain in order to obtain my degree considering English is my second language and I had to stay away from family: “I will never say never, I will fight til forever”.

Karl Lagerfeld quoted: “Fashion is a language that creates itself in clothes to interpret reality.” The expression would make us think, what is our reality as retailed customers then? What influences our purchasing choice of clothing? How do people perceive us based just on our style? How relevant can it be the skirt we wore yesterday at work? Does everything we wear have to have a meaning to others? The answer to these questions could not have been answer better by any other person than The Queen of England, who once wrote to her son: “Dress gives one the outward sign from which people in general can and do judge upon the inward state of mind and feelings of a person; for this they can see, while the other they cannot see. On that account, clothes are of particular importance.

The fashion industry generated to the United Kingdom an approximate of £37.2bn two years ago; contributing to the employment of 816,000 people, which constitutes almost 3% of the total employment of this country (click here).  Magazines, billboards and advert campaigns have contributed to the success of the fashion industry with the constant promise to their customers that their clothing lines are going to allow them to achieve their ideals of identity (click here) .  Society has taught us that the best way to represent ourselves is defined by our personal style.  Clothes not only represent our gender, but our religion, sexuality, social status, culture, and our profession.  Woman in most Muslim countries such as India and Pakistan can be seen wearing a Burqa. The meaning behind that clothing has to do with their religion and their beliefs, in which women are not seen as sexual objects.  Woman in the United Kingdom have the option to be free to express their image and personality through clothes.

Clothing can also evoke emotions based on the perception of the observer. The psychology of clothing describes how predominant empathy is in this science. Dearborn (1981) suggested that people want external observers to appreciate their personality expressed through clothes, the satisfaction that it meant to combine those pieces of clothing into one style and to estimate the value that it portrays to society (click here).  Subconsciously, we are seeking for approval and the feeling of belonging into particular groups.  A paper recently read for our discussion session comes in mind: “To be or Not to be? The influence of Dissociative Reference Groups on Consumer Preferences”.  The paper mentions how people try NOT to be associated to particular groups, but are rather are influenced by the choices that their aspirational reference groups have as they aspire to be members of that group.  High school can gives us a broader framework about how clothing can be representative of the difference social groups made: There are the popular girls who always dress fashionable; the geeks who to are known for not knowing how to combine two pieces of clothes; the well-known EMOS who wear mainly black and the sports guys amongst others.

Moreover, colour has played an essential role in the fashion industry. The perceptions that people made about us through clothing have to do with the different connotations that each colour is trying to express.  According to a study conducted by Roberts, Owen and Havlicek (2010), colour has a psychological effect on the perceiver.  In an experiment, colour choices of a t-shirt made a big difference in male’s perception of a woman’s attractiveness, being red and black considered to raise arousal in men (click here).  Our everyday choices in colour clothing can generate attributions to its audience. Colours can help woman to give a particular impression about them. If you want see friendly and approachable and trustworthy, you can use clear tones (e.g. camel) and warm colours (e.g. coral); if you want to seem authoritative, you can wear dark colours (e.g. black, navy) and if you want to look successful, you can use colours such as red (click here).

As you can see, the clothes and colour choice you make every day generate a statement of who you are.  The perceptions that people make about you can be influenced by your choices, giving you certain advantage in contextual situations.  My clothing shows that I am quite formal, respectful and studious and trustworthy. What do your clothes tell about yourself?

Not long ago, I read in a book how a woman at a reunion complained about the dishonesty of Marketing, as it is used as a tool to deceive customers by portraying only the best of their products.  The man, who was the member of the Peruvian Society of Marketing, asked her if she used make-up. Since the woman answered positively to the question, he said that he would agree with her that companies should be forced to show the reality of their products as long as women were forced to  stop wearing make-up in order to deceive men with that fake beauty (Lo bueno, bonito y barato, 2010, pg.19). Obviously, the answer would be no. Women have become dependent on make-up up to the point that they would not step out of their houses without the essential foundation or eyeliner. Like a famous Roman philosopher said:  “A woman without paint is like food without salt!” (click here)

The multibillionaire cosmetic industry has evolved throughout the years increasingly. Research from Mintel (2011) found out that the beauty market had increasingly reached a value of 1 billion dollars( click here). Although some would think that recession would hit the industry hard on their sales, it turned out that it did not affect women’s purchased towards the quantity but just affected their current choices, with a new tendency to go for a more natural make-up look.  (click here). The use of cosmetics can have a different meaning to its users. It is like each woman has a different story to tell by the way they wear make-up. Particularly, I think that make-up reflects our personality, and unveils a numerous of emotions. Whether you are feeling sexy and glamorous or in a sad mood; there is always a shade or lipstick that will reflect your mood. Moreover, it has been found by the London College of Fashion (2008) that make-up affects the mood to which they start the day with (click here).

Cosmetics are certainly linked with the new concepts of beauty, or what men would rather call high attractiveness. It has not passed unnoticed to women the effect that make-up has on men. An interesting experiment was conducted by Nicolas Geugen (2008). The experiment took place in a bar in France, where two women were exposed to two conditions. Under the first condition, they would have to wear make-up in the bar; while in the second condition, they were told to have a natural look (no make-up).  Geugen found out that on the first condition, the man would approach these women after 17 minutes with an average of 2 men per hour; while under the second condition, it will take 23 minutes for a man to approach with an average of 1.5 men per hour (click here).  That experiment gives us an idea of the impact that make-up can have. A video I found, also portrays the situation in which a girl expriments how life more easy as she dresses and puts up make-up and gets things for free; while her natural face does not bring any rewards to her.

The Cosmetic Industry has not only had an impact on the beauty values of todays’ society but it has also affected the way people think about us, which I think it is related to social psychology.  According to Dr. Sarah Vickery, cosmetics can be used as a tool to create impressions. (click here ). In fact, women make use of cosmetics so that they can form impressions that can be beneficial to them in regards to the employment context (click here).  A study by Hammermesh and Biddle (2001) show that there were lower rates for employment for woman considered unattractive (click here).  Personally, I think that a woman with make-up on an interview can cause more impact as cosmetics have the power to give us more self-confidence and internal security. It is like we transform into someone else and we are not afraid anymore.

Make-up can be a really powerful weapon not only of seduction, but can help us to give a strong sign of our identity. As stated before, cosmetics are not only a reflection of our moods, but it also creates moods. I believe that women are not trying to hide behind their make-up, but attempt to take out their inner woman.  Cosmetics are not used to deceive as some would say, but for me they just emphasize our most valuable features. Now look yourself in the mirror, and discover the woman that you want to be!

You are FAT!

Recently, I read an interesting quotation from Joel Yager in article about body image: “Every society has a way of torturing its women, whether by binding their feet or by sticking them into whalebone corsets”.  The society of today is no exception, as the media has taken over on the role of woman torturer. The days when woman used to seek for a healthy size eight or ten are gone and have been replaced by the so called and aspired size ZERO!

Clearly the perception of woman in regards to their body shape has taken a drastic change, affecting their lifestyles. Our choices have opened the door to eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia.  According to a British Journal of Psychology (click here), some researchers suggested that the body image dysfunction is caused by a distortion of the perceptual body size and a cognitive-evaluative dysfunction.  The perceptual distortion has to do when a person cannot measure their body size in a precise way, while a person with cognitive evaluative dysfunction know her exact size but is still dissatisfied with a part of her body. While exploring these topics, it reminded me that Gok Wan has a show called: How to look good Naked? In the programme, he lines up woman and the guest has to position herself in the line according to how she feels her body size is. What Gok Wan wants to do is send the message that woman are wrong about their actual body size, and to make them feel confident of how they look.

The beauty industry (click here) has certainly given a new meaning to the value of beauty in woman, causing an increase in the number of woman who has eating disorders.  I should know better as a closer person in my life used to have bulimia. At that time, I was so young to even realize she had a problem.  I always saw her as a confident 25 year old woman, but little did I know she had deep insecurities regarding to her body shape. If you saw her, you would have thought she had the ‘IDEAL BODY’, and many of you would had envy her; but on her eyes, she would see and considered herself as a ‘FATTIE’.  There was no way someone could convince her of the contrary, until she found pregnancy as a reason to get help.

The exposure to media has had such an impact, that researchers have found that eating disorders are not just a teenager problem but it affect also nine year old girls (click here).  There has been an increased in younger girls concerned in their body shape. According to the ECD, 40% of young nine year old girls have dieted (click here).  I think their perceptions have to do with Leon Festinger’s  Social Comparison theory, in which people tend to compare themselves with others in order to evaluate themselves. In the case of the nine year olds, they are constantly exposed to television programmes like pageants show where younger kids never looked as slimmed as today or magazines which shows models whose legs are the size of a finger.

There is an increased problem of confidence amongst woman in today’s society.  Certainly beauty companies do not have an ethical code but they guide by a profitable code. However, it is us who have let the media guide our perceptions in body shape until the point that some woman have ended up hurting their body.  It seems like whenever we see adverts in a magazine with skinny models, some woman end up losing their self-esteem. We should give prevalence to this topic, because these eating disorders can happen to anyone of us. It’s in our hands to take matters in this issue and to improve body satisfaction: Woman need to learn to love themselves!