Search This Blog

Monday, 13 December 2010

Imaginary food is just as filling!

A new study has found that when you imagine eating a certain food, it reduces your actual consumption of that food.

"These findings suggest that trying to suppress one's thoughts of desired foods in order to curb cravings for those foods is a fundamentally flawed strategy," said Carey Morewedge, lead author of this study. "Our studies found that instead, people who repeatedly imagined the consumption of a morsel of food -- such as an M&M or cube of cheese -- subsequently consumed less of that food than did people who imagined consuming the food a few times or performed a different but similarly engaging task. We think these findings will help develop future interventions to reduce cravings for things such as unhealthy food, drugs and cigarettes, and hope they will help us learn how to help people make healthier food choices."

In the first experiment, participants imagined performing 33 repetitive actions, one at a time.

A second group imagined inserting 30 quarters into a laundry machine and then imagined eating 3 M&M'S.

A third group imagined inserting three quarters into a laundry machine and then imagined eating 30 M&M'S.

All the while, a control group imagined inserting 33 quarters into a laundry machine.

Next, all participants ate freely from a bowl filled with M&M'S. Participants who imagined eating 30 M&M'S actually ate significantly fewer M&M'S than did participants in the other groups.

To ensure that the results were due to imagined consumption of M&M'S rather than the control task, the next experiment manipulated the experience imagined (inserting quarters or eating M&M'S) and the number of times it was imagined. Again, the participants who imagined eating 30 M&M'S subsequently consumed fewer M&M'S than did the participants in the other groups.

"Habituation is one of the fundamental processes that determine how much we consume of a food or a product, when to stop consuming it, and when to switch to consuming another food or product," Vosgerau said. "Our findings show that habituation is not only governed by the sensory inputs of sight, smell, sound and touch, but also by how the consumption experience is mentally represented. To some extent, merely imagining an experience is a substitute for actual experience. The difference between imagining and experiencing may be smaller than previously assumed."

So if you want to stop craving that tasty christmas food come January, just think about eating it a little more often and watch your cravings melt away!

Link to Paper

No comments:

Post a Comment

About this Blog

This is our first attempt to join the exciting world of blogging and bring to you all the fresh and hot news about the world of psychology and, of course, about your favourite training company. This is our new enterprise and we are finding our way in this mysterious world of blogging cautiously (but surely...) :-)
We are hoping to move our popular SDS Delegate Debate into this blogging format in the future and looking forward to lively discussions here with you. We are planning to start with publishing already existing SDS Delegate Debates — with comments received from you. Then we'll move to the current news as well as will run new delegate debates there.
Feel free to leave comments to any of the posts — whether they are old debates, the news or new debates. As you can guess — every blogger loves his readers and LIVES for the comments. :-) We are just the same. You don’t need to register in order to be able to comment. You can leave your feedback as “Anonymous”, however, may we ask you to sign you name (or nick) at the end of your comment (even if you are commenting without logging in) so that we know how to address you.
Another useful tool that SDS Blog provides us with is availability of Polls that enable us to find out your views about various subjects. Polls are located on the left panel of the page and updated regularly. Please feel free to vote. You can see the results of each poll by clicking the button "Results".
If you wish to register — nothing can be easier — you just open a Google account — most of you, surely, already use one.
Your comments are read by SDS Consultants regularly and — in many cases — replied to.
The blog is moderated — mainly to protect you and other readers from spam and irrelevant comments.
All posts are tagged — hopefully it'll help you to find your way around there.
Wish us luck and please join the list of our followers.
There was an error in this gadget