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See Inside July / August 2010

Food for Thought

Does Fast Food Make Us Impatient?

When you go to a fast-food restaurant, you expect to get your fries quickly. But thinking about fast food makes us impatient about other things, too, according to a recent study in Psychological Science. People who examined the aesthetics of a McDonald’s or KFC logo were more likely to choose to take a smaller sum of money immediately (rather than waiting for a bigger payout a week later) than those who had critiqued the logos of inexpensive sit-down chains. After thinking about fast food, people were also more interested in time-saving products, such as 2-in-1 shampoo-conditioner, and they read a paragraph faster despite the fact that there was no time limit. Even when the task at hand has nothing to do with food, this study suggests, you act how you eat.

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