University of Toronto2014-06-20 1:35 PM

Too Impatient to Smell the RosesExposure to Fast Food Impedes Happiness

Abstract
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. Study 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. Together, these studies show that as pervasive symbols of impatience, fast food can inhibit savoring, producing negative consequences for how we experience pleasurable events.

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