The next time you feel like grabbing that piece of pizza or chocolate cake, just stare at it for a few minutes, and you might end up eating a lot lesser of it, according to a new study.
Another group imagined inserting 30 quarters into a laundry machine and then imagined eating 3 M&M`S, while a third group imagined inserting three quarters into a laundry machine and then imagined eating 30 M&M`S. Next, all participants ate freely from a bowl filled with M&M`S. Participants who imagined eating 30 M&M`S actually ate significantly fewer M&M`S than did participants in the other two groups. Results also showed that the reduction in actual consumption following imagined consumption was due to habituation — a gradual reduction in motivation to eat more of the food — rather than alternative psychological processes such as priming or a change in the perception of the food`s taste. "Habituation is one of the fundamental processes that determine how much we consume of a food or a product, when to stop consuming it, and when to switch to consuming another food or product," Joachim Vosgerau said. "To some extent, merely imagining an experience is a substitute for actual experience. The difference between imagining and experiencing may be smaller than previously assumed." Other implications of this research include the discovery that mental imagery can enact habituation in the absence of pre-ingestive sensory stimulation and that repeatedly stimulating an action can trigger its behavioural consequences. ANI
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