Intro: Despite saving us time, fast food may make us impatient and more likely to seek instant gratification, new research finds. The first experiment found that exposure to fast-food symbols increases reading speed even when there's no pressure to read fast. In a second experiment, the researchers asked 91 participants either to recall a time they had a fast-food meal or the last time they went grocery shopping, then to rate the desirability of eight products, 4 were time saving (such as combined shampoo/conditioner) and 4 weren't (such as regular shampoo). In the third experiment, 58 participants were asked to rate the aesthetics of logos either from fast-food franchises or from inexpensive diners. Researchers also asked about preferences on saving money.
Exposure to fast food and related symbols reinforces an emphasis on impatience and instant gratification and ... fast food can have a far broader impact on individuals' behaviors and choices than previously thought.