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Fast Food Changes Mood and Behavior

Researchers from the University of Toronto are suggesting that fast food can not only damage our health, but effect our patience, even to the point of financial detriment. An article in Psychological Science describes three experiments that demonstrate this correlation.

In the first experiment, participants who were subliminally shown the logos of six major fast food chains read faster than participants in the control group.

In the second experiment, participants who were asked to recall their last visit to a fast food restaurant demonstrated a higher preference for time-saving products than those who were asked to recall their last trip to the grocery store. In the third experiment, participants who were asked to provide feedback on the aesthetics of fast food logos were more likely to choose a reduced compensation rate for their participation in the experiment rather than wait a week for more money.

It appears that we become more impatient simply considering fast food. Perhaps this plays a part in road rage and other impulsive driving behaviors. Efficiency can be a positive trait; however, it is not the most important variable in every situation.

The authors also mentioned research by Aarts & Dijksterhuis (2003) that found that looking at a picture of an exclusive restaurant caused people to utilize better manners when eating. Berger, Meredith, & Wheeler (2008) found that those who vote in a school building were more likely to vote for school funding initiatives. Our unconscious powerfully shapes our behavior and attitudes. It is important to surround yourself with positive, healthy messages and objects.

May 4th, 2010