Junk Food Twice as Distracting as Healthier Food: Johns Hopkins Study


[upbeat music] Man’s satisfied voice: Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm [clicking on keyboard] We set up a task in which people would solve a small problem at the center of a visual
screen. [clicking on keyboard]
And from time to time, we’d flash a picture. And what we found is the picture always slowed
you down a little bit. We could show a picture of a bicycle, a football,
a thumbtack. Woman’s voice: Ouch! These things would slow you down. If we showed pictures of food like an apple,
or celery or carrots, they would also slow you down just the same amount. But the interesting finding was if we showed
a picture of something like an ice cream sundae… Woman’s satisfied voice: Mmmmmm
or a slice of pizza… Man’s satisfied voice: Mmmmmm
that slowed you down twice as much. [car breaking squeal]
So what we found was that images of foods like these tended to be more distracting than
images of foods like these. Even though these foods were entirely irrelevant
to the task they still hold some kind of power. What we decided to do was a little bit out
of left field. We decided to give people a small snack before
doing the experiment. Two fun-size candy bars. Just little things like that. And the effect was pretty striking. The attractiveness of the high fat foods was
completely eliminated by this small snack. [Pac man game ends sound]
It’s interesting to think about the power that these foods have in our everyday life
and trying to maybe even further understand what role they play in our lives. Foods still have kind of this very powerful
effect. They can be very distracting. [music ends]

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