Monday, September 13, 2010

Fast Food Marketing Drives Impatient Behavior

From a fascinating article in the current issue of Psychology Today:

A team of Toronto researchers has found that even incidental and unconscious exposure to the fast-food symbols that are all around us makes people feel time-stressed and impatient in settings far outside the eating domain. They prefer time-saving products. Such exposure speeds up the rate at which they read, even when under no time pressure, as one marker of a sense of added time urgency.

Most striking of all, just a glimpse of the golden arches changes our psychology so that people become impatient about financial decisions - they wind up unwilling to postpone immediate gain for future rewards, so they sacrifice savings, against their own economic interest...

[Researcher Sanford DeVoe] surveyed 400 US adults to see how often they are exposed to fast-food symbols in the [...] real world and whether it affects their savings rates. He was "stunned to see a robust correlation."

If you're feeling impatient to click and learn more, you'll have to learn the joys of deferred gratification. It looks as if Psychology Today hasn't made the article available anywhere online, although a blog post discussing some of the research is.