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Study Finds Fast-Food Logos Make You Impatient 122

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-got-the-cowboyneal-jitters dept.
A study conducted by the University of Toronto has found that exposure to fast-food logos can cause people to feel impatient and make them more likely to buy things. Subjects in the study were exposed to nearly imperceptible flashes of images (for 12 to 80 milliseconds) which included fast-food logos for some. The subjects were then asked to read about and choose between two different kinds of skin-care treatments, one of which was a three-in-one. Those who had the logos flashed before them read "significantly faster" and chose the more time-saving skin product. From the article: "The researchers concluded 'fast food, originally designed to save time, can have the unexpected consequence of inducing haste and impatience' and 'preference for time-saving products when there are potentially other important aspects upon which to choose a product.' So, basically, driving past a McDonald's on the highway has the potential to not only make you drive faster, it will make you more likely to buy two-for-one Pantene Pro-V Shampoo and Conditioner the next time you go to Duane Reade. One, it seems, is considerably less ominous than the other." I guess this explains why my nephews will chew on their seat belts and try to get out the windows just to be first into the McDonald's Playland.

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Study Finds Fast-Food Logos Make You Impatient

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  • tl;dr (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:16AM (#31910620)
    tl;dr
  • by barfcat (1741432) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:18AM (#31910682)
    NEXT STORY!!!
  • Actually those logos tend to have an arrow-like shape. Reckon how that plays into things. What if they were more octagonal?

    • by molnarcs (675885)
      It's more likely that those logos are deeply associated in your mind with ... well, fast food. Meaning a certain type of lifestyle. Fast food is something you finish in less then 30 minutes. At least that's my definition. A proper meal 1) takes at least one hour 2) is not eaten alone 3) if it's eaten alone, you must have a newspaper or a good book handy for the pauses you take between the starters, main courses and the dessert. This is another type of lifestyle. All those logos remind you of having to finis
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by characterZer0 (138196)

        It would have been interesting to do the study for two different groups - those who eat fast food and those who do not.

      • by vlm (69642)

        Fast food is something you finish in less then 30 minutes. At least that's my definition. A proper meal 1) takes at least one hour 2) is not eaten alone 3) if it's eaten alone, you must have a newspaper or a good book handy for the pauses you take between the starters, main courses and the dessert.

        Dominos was on the list. The pizza delivery joint.

        My pizza eating experience goes something like:

        Eat a slice a pizza, wipe hands on shirt (just being honest here), wash down w/ sip of beer, play a couple rounds of civilization or other non-realtime strategy game, repeat until no longer hungry or out of pizza and/or beer. Takes at least an hour, and eating room temperature pizza probably violates all kinds of safe food handling rules, so I sometimes refrigerate before eating (weird, but true).

        • by maxume (22995)

          A couple of hours isn't going to make much difference, especially if you aren't planning on storing what is left after that. This page seems legitimate enough, and it says below 70 F in 2 hours, below 40 F in 4 hours:

          http://web.extension.illinois.edu/meatsafety/storing/holding.html [illinois.edu]

          (I'm using meat as a simplification, I would think that the bread, cheese, sauce and other toppings will all be less of a problem...)

        • by Rob Kaper (5960)

          Room temperature pizza is perfectly safe to eat. Even that left-over slice the next morning. Refridgerating your pizza first doesn't sound weird to me but more like a case of mysophobia.

          And actually, I've always learned that warm dishes need to chill down to room temperature before putting them in the fridge because the sudden cool down is even worse when it comes to bacteria etc.

          • by vlm (69642)

            Refridgerating your pizza first doesn't sound weird to me but more like a case of mysophobia.

            Mysophobia, no, I'm cool with dirt. Pathological fear of food poisoning, now thats me. I've had some simply astounding experiences a several hours after consuming McDonalds breakfast egg-product sandwiches, and of course the proverbial Taco Bell. Could not find the word for that phobia, despite some google searching. SitoToxiPhobia? Maybe just "commonsense"?

            I like cheese on crackers, cold pizza is about the same technology but tastes better.

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by Mister Whirly (964219)
              If you are experiencing symptoms a mere few hours after eating, that generally isn't food poisoning. You had an upset stomach. "Food poisoning" is thrown about way too much and does not mean you suffered ill effects from food.- it means a specific food borne illness is present in the food. If it had actually been food poisoning, there would have likely been a large outbreak, and believe me you KNOW when it really is food poisoning. You are very sick for multiple days and usually need to be hospitalized. Hav
              • by dcw3 (649211)

                Just a quick question.

                Does microwaving suffice for killing bacteria? If so, is it the radiation, or the food heat that does the trick?

                • The heat will kill bacteria if the food is heated to above 140. I have no idea on any other effect a microwave may have. I know that irradiation is used to kill bacteria on food and is very effective, but microwaves use different waves to heat food.
            • by Jedi Alec (258881)

              I've had some simply astounding experiences a several hours after consuming McDonalds breakfast egg-product sandwiches, and of course the proverbial Taco Bell. Could not find the word for that phobia, despite some google searching. SitoToxiPhobia? Maybe just "commonsense"?

              The words you're looking for is "good taste". Your body has determined that McD has absolutely nothing to do with "food" and is notifying you that next time you might want to eat something it likes better.

          • And actually, I've always learned that warm dishes need to chill down to room temperature before putting them in the fridge because the sudden cool down is even worse when it comes to bacteria etc.

            This is wrong. The goal when refrigerating hot food is to have the food in the "danger zone" (41 F to 140 F) for the least amount of time. Letting the dish cool down before refrigeration increases the time the food is in the danger zone.

            For example, here is a quote from the King County Health Services [kingcounty.gov] page for food handlers:

            The first rule to remember about cooling: Cool hot food as fast as you can to 41 F or below, past the "Danger Zone."

            • The problem with putting a warm dish in the fridge is that (if you aren't careful whjere you put it) you can heat up the other stuff that's in there.

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Dominos was on the list. The pizza delivery joint."

          God, what a sorry excuse for a pizza place...

          I mean, ok, I can justify it on occasion when you are smashed...you get home from the bar, it is about 2:30am (maybe earlier if not in a college town) and you gotta have something to eat. You call them, and get something that tastes like artificial cheese covered cardboard that you graciously devour before passing out.

          But given a choice? Hell, there are frozen pizzas today that are better than domino's and m

          • by sjames (1099)

            That's why I make my own these days starting with the dough (not a big deal with a bread machine to do the heavy kneading).

      • by Sique (173459)

        Fast food is something you finish in less then 30 minutes.

        Sorry, but I finish every meal within 30 min (plus the time I'm waiting for the next course to be served).
        Maybe I am more an inhalator of food than an actual eater.

      • The article says some of the images contained fast food logos, but it doesn't say what the others contained.

        That makes it difficult to determine whether it's something intrinsic to the logos, or a learned association.

      • by gtall (79522)

        "Fast food is something you finish in less then 30 minutes."

        This should read: Fast food is something that finishes with you in less then 30 minutes.

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      Doesn't matter. All the logos make me say only:

      "Why TF do they call this FAST food?"

  • Reading this upset my stomach.
  • Most people have a learned association, i.e. the logos make them think of eating particular favorite food -- and many people are impatient and eager to get around obstacles when their appetite is stimulated. I doubt the logos themselves have any intrinsic power. :)
    • I agree. I don't see how it would be narrowed down to fast-food in that sense. I'm sure that sports logos, and brand names, and Coke and Pepsi products would all be found to have the same effects if logos themselves were the ones with the power to alter your state of mind.

      No, its most likely your mind playing a subconcious trick because you already know about the logo. You look at it, and you don't think, "Hmmm, Golden Arches make me impatient", you think "I could go for some McDonalds, because I don't feel

    • by FooAtWFU (699187)
      Did they do any studying to tell whether the effect was more pronounced among people who regularly had fast food?
      • by Macrat (638047)
        In other news, researchers find that showing pictures of anything quickly will make people impatient and in a rush to leave the silly test.
    • by macneile (1544119)
      I agree. When I see a McDonald's logo, I think of eating a cheeseburger..... duh.... right? I don't become impatient and want to immediately run to the nearest store to buy something useless.
  • Amazing (Score:1, Redundant)

    by tmosley (996283)
    I'm impatient with this story already!
  • I've worked for two different fast food chains as a customer service person and there is huge pressure on the staff to keep things moving fast (seconds count, statistics are everything). Most staff in these places are too young or too lazy to hide the fact that they are under huge pressure. Those vibes are going to rub off on the customer and the whole place. Frankly, if you don't make up your mind fast, you're going to really piss the staff off.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I've worked for two different fast food chains as a customer service person and there is huge pressure on the staff to keep things moving fast (seconds count, statistics are everything). Most staff in these places are too young or too lazy to hide the fact that they are under huge pressure. Those vibes are going to rub off on the customer and the whole place. Frankly, if you don't make up your mind fast, you're going to really piss the staff off.

      And the people behind you.

      I never did understand those who min

      • by gknoy (899301)

        Sometimes people leave their glasses in the car, or aren't wearing contacts, or sometimes the lighting is just bad enough that there's an inconvenient glare. Some people (like me) genuinely take a long time deciding - I will be thinking about what I want to order from the time I get in the line, but occasionally can't decide between two items, and eventually have to decide to be dissatisfied with which ever decision I make.

        • Of course. And the fact that I understand that is the reason I can go to my weekend fast-food job, at the end of a week studying science and engineering, and take peoples orders with a genuine smile on my face. But the truth is, there are very stupid people out there.
        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Sometimes people leave their glasses in the car, or aren't wearing contacts, or sometimes the lighting is just bad enough that there's an inconvenient glare. Some people (like me) genuinely take a long time deciding - I will be thinking about what I want to order from the time I get in the line, but occasionally can't decide between two items, and eventually have to decide to be dissatisfied with which ever decision I make."

          Ok, I'll give you this one...BUT, what about the jackass you're behind in the che

        • by Hatta (162192)

          Don't get in line until you know what you're going to order.

        • by plague3106 (71849)

          Sometimes people leave their glasses in the car, or aren't wearing contacts

          I can honestly say I don't give a damn. Whatever the reason, they are still holding other people up unnessarly.

          sometimes the lighting is just bad enough that there's an inconvenient glare

          Hmm, I don't think I've ever seen this particular problem.

          Some people (like me) genuinely take a long time deciding - I will be thinking about what I want to order from the time I get in the line, but occasionally can't decide between two items, and

        • by Smauler (915644)

          Some people (like me) genuinely take a long time deciding - I will be thinking about what I want to order from the time I get in the line, but occasionally can't decide between two items, and eventually have to decide to be dissatisfied with which ever decision I make.

          That's absolutely fine as long as you do it on your time. If you start doing it on my time, I'm going to get a little pissed off.

      • LOL well said. Now see how you feel when you have a stressed out manager standing behind you giving you dirty looks, and some bloke in the kitchen shouting "SERVICE TIME, REGISTER 16!", because people don't realise that they can see the menu from fifth in line. Nothing enlightens you to the stupidity of humans like fast food work... except maybe IT work.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by SleazyRidr (1563649)

        Sometimes I do it just to be a dick.

  • by Krneki (1192201)
    It's not like they force you to buy anything.

    P.S: Adblock plus FTW!
  • That they're effective?

  • by natehoy (1608657) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @11:32AM (#31910924) Journal

    There were too many fast food logos in the summary picture and I was too impatient to read the rest of the article, in fact I don't think I can complete this sentenc...

    • There were too many fast food logos in the summary picture and I was too impatient to read the rest of the article, in fact I don't think I can complete this sentenc...

      Candlejack? Was that y

  • ...it's just that having your concentration disrupted, even on a subliminal level, is irritating, which in turn quite typically makes people impatient, and more liable to just do whatever the hell is in front of them rather than giving it thought first.

  • Red and yellow. Don't those make us more impatience?

  • Excuse me but, what were they trying to achieve by subliminally showing food logos to people and then putting shampoo in front of them?

    I think someone was going for a much more spectacular result.

  • For the most part, those logos make me nauseous, not impatient!
  • C'mon, this is old news! We reported on this a week ago...

    http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/04/13/fast-food-induces-haste-impatience/ [psychcentral.com]

  • FTA:

    exposure to fast-food symbols -- including the logos of McDonald's, KFC, Subway and Taco Bell -- make people both less likely to save money and more likely to feel like they're running out of time.

    Funny, eating McDonald's, KFC, Subway and Taco Bell makes me feel like I'm running out of time. Time left to live that is.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      You can eat healthy at any of them if you try. Hell it isn't even that hard at Subway and Taco Bell. Not that any of them are going to TASTE very good, but from a purely "sustenance that isn't bad for you" standpoint, all have good options available. Heck when I'm in a hurry I actually have found that the Mandarin Chicken Salad at Wendy's is pretty darned good.

      • by canajin56 (660655)

        You can't eat healthy at Subway unless you get something without sauce, cheese, or bread ;). In terms of "good for you" you can go to the grocers and just buy those prewashed bags of salad, and a plastic fork. Enjoy! Faster and cheaper, and you'll have leftovers! And the Mandarin Chicken Salad is really bad for you, because even if you don't use the dressing or noodles it comes with, those orange slices (OK technically mandarin oranges aren't a kind of orange...) are marinated in pure corn syrup. Stil

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by geekoid (135745)

          Man, you're post is choke full of nutrient ignorance.

          First off, you can get a ham sandwich with a ton of veggies and no Mayo. It's pretty healthy. Sure you could also get the 12" meatball mariners with extra cheese. But as the poster pointed out, it's not hard to eat healthy at Subways..or any of those place listed. Subway is the best of the bunch.

          "those prewashed bags of salad, and a plastic fork."
          Many of hem are not terrible healthy. They are mostly iceberg lettuce, which is water barely being held togeth

          • Even if your example was correct, what would you do with the extra few minutes during lunch?

            Smoke a cigarette.

          • Scientist who do good pier reviewed studies

            If a scientist gets a bad pier review, will the university (or other employer) have his pay docked?

            I'm here all week. Try the instant veal burger ;-)

        • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @02:32PM (#31913742)

          In terms of "good for you" you can go to the grocers and just buy those prewashed bags of salad, and a plastic fork. Enjoy! Faster and cheaper, and you'll have leftovers!

          And end up severely malnourished ;). Most of those bagged salads are less than 100. Unless you're eating a LOT more for your other meals and snacking, you can't survive on that. Most adult males are going to need 1600-1800 calories per day minimum to avoid lethargy. Most active men can have the daily recommended 2000 without issue.

          Those calories have to come from somewhere. Now, lettuce and other such things we commonly find in salads are GREAT fillers to make your stomach feel full, but you have to also add some other things into your diet to get those calories, because you need them. Grilled meats, non-fried starches, fruits, nuts, etc are all good sources to get that from. Non-fatty salad dressings are also fine in moderation.

          Take the mandarin chicken salad for I referenced for example - low in saturated fat & cholesterol, and the entire salad prepared with all included condiments is around 550 calories. In other words, you have 1 for lunch and 1 (or any other similarly laid out meal) for dinner along with a small breakfast and you've still got a decent amount of calories to spare for a few well placed snacks and the like.

          Too often there's a tendency to say that "This has sugar so it's bad". "This has salt so it's bad.". "This has fat so it's bad.". The reality is we need a little bit of everything - just not in the quantities provided by a supersized big mac combo.

          Look at the big picture instead of single ingredients. Find me anybody who is typically eating salads (even fast food salads, and even the ones with relatively mild non-mayo based dressings), reasonably sized subs (ie, 6" - no footlongs, but yes, even with that evil bread), and/or fast food tacos sans cheese and with grilled chicken, and is drinking water along with those meals rather than sugary sodas. I can pretty much guarantee that they will be of a completely healthy weight and will not have any diet-related health issues.

        • by Smauler (915644)

          As much as everyone hates to deny it, calories are basically the only things that matter. It doesn't matter if you get them by carbs or fats, if you eat too many calories, you'll get fatter. People rant about different diets... eg the atkins. They did a study of people doing Atkins diets, and they found that the people who lost weight took in less calories. It wasn't about carbs or fat, it was just purely less calories.

          • by dcw3 (649211)

            As much as everyone hates to deny it, calories are basically the only things that matter. It doesn't matter if you get them by carbs or fats, if you eat too many calories, you'll get fatter. People rant about different diets... eg the atkins. They did a study of people doing Atkins diets, and they found that the people who lost weight took in less calories. It wasn't about carbs or fat, it was just purely less calories.

            Ok, this is only anecdotal, so fwiw...

            My wife did Atkins, and lost 60lbs. At the same time, my cardiologist put me on South Beach (the only diet I've ever been on, and lost 40 lbs.). We both ate as much as we wanted, and certainly consumed more than I did previously. Neither of us tracked calories, since it's not a focus of either diet, but there were days where I really pig'ed out, and was shocked that I wasn't gaining. For me, I could live with that diet, but really missed pizza (though we did order s

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @12:08PM (#31911618) Homepage

    Could it be, that simply flashing anything colorful — be it a McDonald's logo, or Obama's "Hope" poster — will make a person impatient?

    • by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday April 20, 2010 @03:57PM (#31914710) Homepage Journal

      They did control a bit for that; the control group saw a "blank square", according to the actual journal article [sagepub.com].

      Not entirely sure what "blank" means, but they were generally being shown a screen full of flashing lights: "participants reported that they had seen color blocks without any meaningful pattern".

      Seems to me that they should at least have controlled for ANY logos, perhaps for a car rental company or just random corporate logos. It's not at all clear to me whether they've actually proven anything about "fast food logos" rather than complicated shapes in general.

      I'm generally suspicious about subliminal programming experiments, and their failure to control for something that seems obvious to me makes me skeptical.

  • this has to be nonsense. Just because you see, oh look McDonalds,

  • To me, the most disturbing thing that this research seems to suggest is that subliminal frames actually work.

    Since this stuff was dissed as ineffective by a whole lot of sources I'd read in the past, I now wonder if there is some kind of conspiracy going on: false news on the ineffectiveness of subliminal messages being spread by the very people who seek to manipulate the general public through the media.

    • by h00manist (800926)
      I'd say both. Ignorance plays a large part in the general confusion, but also puppet masters. Fools just tell their truth, liars insist on their truth. Then there's the liar good enough to fool the wise.
    • by radtea (464814)

      To me, the most disturbing thing that this research seems to suggest is that subliminal frames actually work.

      Since the reasoning power of the average reader is shown by the summary's entirely unjustified statement, "So, basically, driving past a McDonald's on the highway... will make you more likely to buy two-for-one Pantene Pro-V Shampoo and Conditioner the next time you go to Duane Reade" I don't see that there's any point in going after the other falsehoods implied the study.

      People are both innumerate and what I call "probability blind", which is like colour-blindness but for the way chance actually works. Th

    • by Comboman (895500)
      As I understand it, the studies showed that subliminal advertising wasn't effective, but that doesn't necessarily mean that subliminal communication isn't happening. Most advertising is about distinguishing your brand from your competitor, not about creating demand. If I flash a McDonald's logo at someone and they feel hungry and go to Wendy's, I've failed as an advertiser, despite that fact that something is clearly being communicated.
    • by Smauler (915644)

      Some of these images were flashed for up to 80ms.... that seems like far from subliminal to me. If you're not noticing an image in from of you for almost 1/10th of a second, you've got bigger problems than a fast food short attention span association.

  • I think if I had fast food logos flashed in front of me I would be hungry or more likely to buy fast food. I don't think it would have any influence on any other type of product I would buy. Could it be that the test subjects were more likely to buy the 3-in-1 skin treatment because that image was flashed in front of them or maybe because it was a more convenient purchase. Maybe it was the skin treatment they already bought.
  • Yeah, right. I have a logo that will subconsciously make your customers cough up their entire bank account on what ever kind of crap you want to sell them. We've been working on this at McMahon and Tate for 50 years. We've almost got it perfected. And it can be yours if the price is right.

  • I would never imagine that was the reason fast-food chains tend to be featured in movies like falling down [imdb.com]
  • As much as I enjoy the usual /. digressions, I'd love to get an analysis from anyone who designs logos for a living. I'm not a designer, but I do notice few things that the logos have in common: Most of them have either text or design elements that rise to the upper-right of the logo. Most have some sort of pointer, either arrows (Subway), a slashing underline (Pizza Hut), meteor (Burger King), italics(KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway). Most use primary colors exclusively. Are these elements standard idioms in logo d
    • ... Do the designs, rather than the products they hawk, contribute to the feelings of haste? What would happen if one tested with a logo design with these types of elements, but for a fictional brand?
    • I'm a graphic designer and the only aspect I think might influence the viewer is color. What they need are additional studies - sit-down restaurants, non-restaurants, logos that aren't generally reds and yellows, logos the viewer is not familiar with....

      Maybe its simply having crap flash in your face...

      Considering that the subliminal-message studies of the 60s or whenever were a hoax, I think this a bunch of hooey.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      As much as I enjoy the usual /. digressions, I'd love to get an analysis from anyone who designs logos for a living. I'm not a designer, but I do notice few things that the logos have in common: Most of them have either text or design elements that rise to the upper-right of the logo. Most have some sort of pointer, either arrows (Subway), a slashing underline (Pizza Hut), meteor (Burger King), italics(KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway). Most use primary colours exclusively. Are these elements standard idioms in logo

  • I thought it was the fucker who won't hurry up and gimme my sammich that made me impatient.

  • I didn't have the patience to read it.

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