If you think the global obesity epidemic is depressing, you might want to try blaming the imagery that sells fast food.
A new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science
have found that fast food logos are impeding our ability to be happy.
The researchers started with the hypothesis that fast food logos—“symbols of an impatience culture”—can inhibit the ability to savor.
Here’s how the experiments worked (via The Huffington Post
In the first experiment, 285 participants filled out a survey on their own propensity to savor pleasant experiences, and researchers measured their answers against the concentration of fast food restaurants in their neighborhood. The second experiment tested 257 participants' reactions to an image of natural beauty, after having been primed with a visual cue of fast food. The third measured 122 participants' reactions to a harmonious melody, after having been primed with a fast food symbol.
The study found that participants in each of the studies had an inhibited ability to savor and an impeded ability to enjoy pleasant experiences.
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The authors conclude: “Given the prevalence of fast-food symbols in our everyday environment, it is critical to better understand their influence. As a ubiquitous symbol of an impatient culture, fast food not only impacts people’s physical health but may also shape their experience of happiness in unexpected ways.”
So is it time to replace the golden arches, or do the logos just need a different context?