All day long, you think only of her… That chocolate bar comfortably installed in the kitchen cupboard or that packet of crisps hidden in the buffet. Nothing to do, these foods do not leave your mind. Yet according to the conclusions of a study conducted by psychologists from the University of Sussex (UK), it wouldn’t be that hard to forget them. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General and Appetite.
Scientists claim that taking care of the mind by performing certain tasks could make it possible to protect yourself from certain food cravings. Conversely, previous studies had shown that eating distractedly could lead to overeating. This new study was divided into two searches.
Engage your brain
- In the first research, all participants took part in a visual research exercise. They had to find a letter among a series of letters. During this exercise, images of attractive foods such as chocolate, donuts and inedible objects were projected for the participants to see. The researchers measured how distracted the participants were by these images and to what extent it could impact their reaction time.
- The second study consisted of a single experiment in which participants were asked to hold a chocolate bar in their hand and rate their taste, hunger, and craving for chocolate, before performing the same visual search task as that carried out in the first study. Participants then had to press a button each time they caught themselves thinking of chocolate.
In conclusion, participants were less distracted by images of food and less likely to remember food pictures, when these were presented in a task requiring more attention. Thanks to the second experiment, the researchers found that the brain is less parasitized by thoughts of food when it is busy with a demanding task.