“Exposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness”

This study is packed with tasty subtleties and interconnectivities:

ZhongToo Impatient to Smell the Roses: Exposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness,” Julian House [pictured below], Sanford E. DeVoe, and Chen-Bo Zhong [who rose to fame with his study about the MacBeth Effect — see yesterday's blog item about that; he is pictured here, at right], Social Psychological and Personality Science, epub 2013. The authors, at the University of Toronto, explain:

We tested whether exposure to the ultimate symbols of an impatience culture—fast food—undermines people’s ability to experience happiness from savoring pleasurable experiences.

  • Study 1 found that the concentration of fast-food restaurants in individuals’ neighborhoods predicted their tendencies to savor.

  • Study 2 revealed that exposure to fast-food primes impeded participants’ ability to derive happiness from pictures of natural beauty.

  • Julian-HouseStudy 3 showed that priming fast food undermined positive emotional responses to a beautiful melody by inducing greater impatience, measured by both subjective perception of time passage and self-reports of impatience experienced during the music.

(Thanks to investigator Erwin Kompanje for bringing this to our attention.)

The  authors produced a companion study:

Fast food and financial impatience: A socio-ecological approach,” Sanford E. DeVoe, Julian House, and Chen-Bo Zhong,  Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105; 2013, pp. 476-494.

BONUS: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: