Fast food makes a person impatient: Study
Last Updated: Friday, March 26, 2010, 00:00

Toronto: Fast food is not only bad for your
body, but may also hit your bank balance.

According to researchers from University of Toronto, mere
exposure to fast food and related symbols makes a person
impatient and reduces his willingness to save.

"Fast food is one of many technologies that allow us to
save time. But the ironic thing is that by constantly
reminding us of time efficiency, these technologies can lead
us to feel much more impatience," says lead author Sanford

DeVoe said: "a fast food culture that extols saving time
doesn`t just change the way we eat but it also fundamentally
alter the way we experience our time.

Echoing his views, co-author of the study Chen-Bo Zhong
said: "Fast food represents a culture of time efficiency and
instant gratification. The problem is that the goal of saving
time gets activated upon exposure to fast food regardless of
whether time is a relevant factor in the context.

"For example, walking faster is time efficient when one
is trying to make a meeting, but it`s a sign of impatience
when one is going for a stroll in the park. We`re finding that
the mere exposure to fast food is promoting a general sense of
haste and impatience regardless of the context," Zhong writes
in the journal Psychological Science.

As part of the study, the team carried out three

In the first experiment, they flashed symbols related to
fast food like the golden arch of McDonald`s on a computer
screen for a few milliseconds, too quick for volunteers to
identify what they saw.

They found that this unconscious exposure increased
participants` reading speed in a subsequent task compared to
those in a control condition.

As part of the second study, the participants went for
shopping and some of them were made to recall a time when they
ate at a restaurant.

The team observed that in comaprison to the control group
these volunteers preferred time-saving products?such as
two-in-one shampoo?over regular products.

From their final experiment, the team found that people
exposed to fast food logos exhibited greater reluctance for
saving they chose a smaller immediate payment rather than
opting for a much larger delayed payment.

"Given the role that financial impatience played in the
current economic crisis, we need to move beyond counting
calories when we examine the consequences of fast food as it
is also influencing our everyday psychology and behaviour in a
wider set of domains than has been previously thought," Zhong


First Published: Friday, March 26, 2010, 00:00

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