Fast-food Exposure May Make Some Impatient

TORONTO, April 2 (UPI) — Canadian researchers suggest fast-food may make those exposed to it impatient and less willing to save money.

Chen-Bo Zhong and Sanford DeVoe of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management say merely flashing a fast-food logo for milliseconds on a computer screen caused study participants — vs. controls — to increase reading speed although there was no advantage to finishing sooner.


“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,” Zhong says in a statement. “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.”

In another experiment, the researchers found participants asked to recall having fast-food subsequently preferred time-saving products — such as two-in-one shampoo — over regular products.

A third experiment linked fast-food exposure to a greater reluctance to save money. The researchers found people preferred a smaller immediate payment rather than a larger later payment.

“The ironic thing is that by constantly reminding us of time efficiency, these technologies can lead us to feel much more impatience,” DeVoe says.

The findings are published in Psychological Science.

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