The simple answer is that, much as viewing images of attractive women made men impatient, looking at logos of fast food restaurants caused an increase in impatient behavior.

Researchers at the University of Toronto found that simply viewing fast food symbols caused measurable increases in “impatience,” including increasing reading speed and the subjects preferring a quick return when evaluating investments:

Based on recent advancements in the behavioral priming literature, three experiments investigated how incidental exposure to fast food can induce impatient behaviors and choices outside of the eating domain. We found that even an unconscious exposure to fast-food symbols can automatically increase participants’ reading speed when they are under no time pressure and that thinking about fast food increases preferences for time-saving products while there are potentially many other product dimensions to consider. More strikingly, we found that mere exposure to fast-food symbols reduced people’s willingness to save and led them to prefer immediate gain over greater future return, ultimately harming their economic interest. Thus, the way people eat has far-reaching (often unconscious) influences on behaviors and choices unrelated to eating. [Abstract of You Are How You Eat - Fast Food and Impatience by Chen-Bo Zhong and Sanford E. DeVoe and published in Psychological Science.]

From a neuromarketing standpoint, one of the more significant findings in the study was that priming subjects with fast food symbols caused them to be more attracted to products that saved time, like a toaster with more slots or a one-step shampoo/conditioner.

Unlike the impatience induced in men by viewing pictures of attractive women, the fast food effect appears to apply to women as well.

Would a prominent KFC coupon help sell your new time-saving appliance? Perhaps. I know that if I was selling long-term investments, I definitely wouldn’t take the client to lunch at McDonalds. And I also know I need to keep this post short, because I’ve already primed my readers to be impatient!

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