Monday, April 19, 2010

Fast food is stirring us all into a hurry?

An extraordinary instance of extravagant inferences. Is there no such thing as scientific caution any more? I showed years ago that delay of gratification generalizes only very weakly from task to task and delay in many tasks does not generalize at all.

All that aside however, These mindreaders seem to have decided that they JUST KNOW why a logo of McDonald's made students jittery. It wouldn't be because they live in an environment that demonizes McDonalds would it? And might that demonization have aroused them in various ways?

YOU may think a takeaway burger is just something to stuff down when you are in a hurry, but scientists claim that fast food can make one crave instant gratification, become increasingly impatient and even lose the impulse to save money.

Participants in experiments became jittery even when shown the logo of the McDonald’s burger chain on screen for such a short instant that they could not recognise it.

Although each individual sighting of a logo has only a short-term subliminal effect, researchers fear [Fears are evidence?] that walking daily past numerous burger bars and sandwich shops could have a cumulative “behavioural priming” effect, making people hurry whether or not they are pushed for time.

“Fast food represents a culture of time efficiency and instant gratification,” said Chen-Bo Zhong, assistant professor of organisational behaviour at Toronto University in Canada.

“The problem is that the goal of saving time gets activated upon exposure to fast food regardless of whether time is a relevant factor in the context. “For example, walking faster is time-efficient when one is trying to make a meeting, but it’s a sign of impatience when one is going for a stroll in the park. “We’re finding that the mere exposure to fast food is promoting a general sense of haste and impatience regardless of the context.”

For the study, to be published in the journal Psychological Science, Zhong and his colleague Sanford DeVoe monitored the behaviour of 57 volunteers. While some were placed in a control group, the rest were shown six logos from fast-food chains, including McDonald’s and KFC.

They were shown the images so quickly that they could not consciously see what they were, but the subliminal effect was marked.

Their speed of reading a 320-word passage was measured before and after seeing the logos and it was significantly faster afterwards. In subsequent experiments there were similar results. In one, participants preferred time-saving products — for example three-in-one skincare treatments rather than the separate versions — after seeing the logos.

In another, they were asked whether they would accept a smaller sum of money instantly or a larger amount in a week’s time. Again they opted for the instant gratification after being exposed to the logos.

“You’re constantly confronted by fast food advertising,” said DeVoe. “Chronic exposure to it throughout the day is going to have a long-term effect. “When I sit in a fast food restaurant, I find myself gobbling my Big Mac down at this incredible speed, even though there is no rush at all.”


MIT student develops $3 cutting-edge healing device

The new device could radically improve healing times for tens of millions, at a cost of $3.

No one really knows why, but for an open wound, simply applying suction dramatically speeds healing times. (The theory is that the negative pressure draws bacteria out, and encourages circulation.) But for almost everyone, that treatment is out of reach--simply because the systems are expensive--rentals cost at least $100 a day and need to be recharged every six hours.

No more. Danielle Zurovcik, a doctoral student at MIT, has created a hand-powered suction-healing system that costs about $3. The device is composed of an airtight wound dressing, connected by a plastic tube to a cylinder with accordion-like folds. Squeezing it creates the suction, which lasts as long as there's no air leak. What's more, where regular dressings need to be replaced up to three times a day--a painful ordeal--the new cuff can be left on for several days.

Zurovcik originally intended to field-test the device in Rwanda, but then the Haiti Earthquake struck. At the request of Partners in Health, an NGO, she traveled to Haiti with 50 of the pumps.

Currently, Zurovcik is verifying the healing benefits of the device, and developing a new model that can be readily carried and concealed. The one technical hurdle that remains is ensuring the bandage seals tightly--but after that, the device could benefit a huge portion of the 50-60 million people in the developing world that suffer from acute or chronic wounds.


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