Many people opt to eat fast food not only for its sometimes addicting taste, but for the convenience it offers, as well. In fact, the availability of quick food has skyrocketed in recent decades, leading to the expectation that a meal can take only a few minutes out of the day, leaving more time for work and other activities. While some may view this modern trend in a positive light, others criticize the impact of fast food on emotional and mental well-being, a sentiment supported by a recent study performed at the Rotman School of Management.
The study investigated how fast food associations interacted with personal expectations and mood by exposing participants to a range of related stimuli. The participants in one particular experiment viewed popular fast food insignia such as the McDonald’s logo in quick flashes that were not consciously processed. Following this experience, the participants were involved in a reading task, and researchers found that those who were exposed to the insignia tended to perform the task more quickly than those in a control group. Participants were also instructed to remember an event in which they ate at a restaurant, and were then presented with a series of choices between “regular” and convenience-oriented products. People who performed the recall exercise were more likely to choose the products focused on higher efficiency.
The researchers have noted that fast food seems to make people more impatient and drawn to other time-saving options –even to the point of spending larger amounts of money. While the negative health effects of fast food have been known for some time, the potential for such foods and the fast food habit itself to hamper psychological well-being and drain the wallet may help more people think twice before stopping at the drive-through.
© Copyright 2010 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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