effects of diet pills


Module Overview: In this Module you will acquire a better understanding of the importance of scientific evidence in evaluating dietary supplements and how powerful vested interests and consumers have promoted these products despite serious questions about their effectiveness and safety.


STEP 1: To successfully complete this learning unit, first re-read our text’s descriptions of Pre-Reflective Thinking (pg. 233) and Cognitive Dissonance (pgs. 239-241).

STEP 2: Next, watch the following 2 brief videos clarifying 2 concepts that are important for understanding the recent history of the Dietary Supplements Industry:

Psychological Reactance (4:17):

Persuasion Psychology: “Reactance” and Overcoming Resistance

Cognitive Dissonance (6:56):

Cognitive Dissonance Theory: A Crash Course

Next, watch this episode (in its entirety) from the Frontline series:

Frontline: Dietary Supplements and Safety:


STEP 3: Write a 250-450 word (maximum) brief report on the controversy surrounding two important issues: whether Dietary Supplements actually contain the ingredients manufacturers claim and whether these ingredients actually produce the effects the manufacturers claim.

In your Brief Report, please address each of the 3 questions below. Make sure to refer to information presented throughout the video, that is, your report should make clear that you watched the entire video.

1. How did the “amateur” seller of “Purity First” products demonstrate Pre-Reflective Thinking in how she chose and then evaluated the manufacturer of her product? That is, what did she say that seemed consistent with Pre-Reflective thinking?

2. Describe how Dietary Supplement manufacturers used advertising to provoke consumers’ psychological reactance thus ensuring they wouldn’t be required to scientifically evaluate their products (leaving that job to the FDA). How successful was their strategy? Note: Please make sure that you address both parts of this question.

3. Some consumers have spent a great deal of money on dietary supplements and have even recommended them to others. How might cognitive dissonance discourage these consumers from accepting the scientific evidence showing they are ineffective?

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