'Fast' in Fast Food Takes Over Your Life

Short attention spans even affect leisure activities: researchers
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2010 2:23 PM CDT
Enjoy this _right now_.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Americans’ exposure to the “instant gratification” of fast food makes them more impatient for fulfillment in other aspects of life, even the low-key pleasure of an afternoon stroll. Research subjects exposed to fast food logos complete tasks more quickly than a control group, even if there is no time limit, a new study finds. “The goal of saving time gets activated upon exposure to fast food regardless of whether time is a relevant factor in the context,” a researcher tells LiveScience.

In another test, participants asked to recall fast food experiences subsequently showed a preference for efficient—but perhaps inferior—products like 2-in-1 shampoo. And people with fast food on the brain proved less likely to save. “The ironic thing is that by constantly reminding us of time efficiency, these technologies can lead us to feel much more impatience,” a researcher says.

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