Busted Halo

In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.


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November 5th, 2010

Fast Food, Faster Culture


fastfood-flashAh, efficiency.

A new study finds that fast-food makes college students more likely to make myopic choices.

Say the University of Toronto researchers, who published their results in the journal Psychological Science:

These findings suggest some ironic implications. Although time-saving goals can certainly increase time efficiency, the activation and pursuit of these goals upon exposure to fast-food concepts are automatic and not contingent on the context.

Thus, exposure to fast food may increase reading speed whether one is at work, where time efficiency matters, or relaxing at home.

Now, let me be clear: I’m not hating on fast-food. And these are small studies. And the opinions of college kids should not necessarily be generalized on the public at large.

Indeed, this plays right into the McDonaldization phenominon theories — “the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world” – coined by Prof. George Ritzer, author of a sociology textbook by the same name.

You’d think nice, liberal Canadian college students might embrace the slow food movement instead.

The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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