University of Oulu

Meyer-Rochow, V.B.; Kejonen, A. Could Western Attitudes towards Edible Insects Possibly be Influenced by Idioms Containing Unfavourable References to Insects, Spiders and other Invertebrates? Foods 2020, 9, 172.

Could western attitudes towards edible insects possibly be influenced by idioms containing unfavourable references to insects, spiders and other invertebrates?

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Author: Meyer-Rochow, Victor Benno1,2; Kejonen, Aimo3
Organizations: 1Department of Ecology and Genetics, Oulu University, SF-90140 Oulu, Finland
2Agricultural Science and Technology Research Institute, Andong National University, Andong 36729, Korea
3Geologian tutkimuskeskus, Itä-Suomen yksikkö, PL 1237, SF-70211 Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2020-04-06


It is known that idioms, proverbs, and slogans can become integrated into feelings like irritation, contemptuous attitudes, and even anger and disgust. Idioms making reference to insects, spiders, and other invertebrates occur in all languages, but they convey mostly negative content in people of Western cultural orientation. By analyzing a subgroup of insect and spider idioms related to food, eating, and digestion, the authors suggest that mirror neurons are activated in people that are exposed to the largely unfavorable content of such idioms. This could then lead the listener of such idioms to adopt the kind of negative attitude towards insects that is expressed in the idioms and to project it towards edible species.

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Series: Foods
ISSN: 2304-8158
ISSN-E: 2304-8158
ISSN-L: 2304-8158
Volume: 9
Issue: 2
Article number: 172
DOI: 10.3390/foods9020172
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: To complete this study Victor Benno Meyer-Rochow received support from Chuleui Jung of Andong National University’s Insect Industry R&D Center via the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2018R1A6A1A03024862).
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (