Maybe the vacant corner lot or the creepy cul-de-sac or the broken window in your neighborhood really isn’t the biggest drag on the local vibe. Maybe it’s McDonald’s.
Game changer: A new Canadian study shows that living next to a concentrated number of fast food restaurant chains can influence people’s abilities to savor the slow, long, and pleasurable.
Apparently fast food can make you too impatient to smell the roses. By using a self-reported study, participants charted their experiences of looking at photos of natural beauty and responding to a soothing piece of music, like “The Flower Duet” from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé.
Indeed, misery loves McDonald’s. The appearance alone of fast food icons showed a dip in happiness and the ill effects of our fast-food culture on being able to enjoy pleasurable images, nuances, and melodies.
According to the study, led by Julian House of the University of Toronto:
“Study 1 found that the concentration of fast-food restaurants in individuals’ neighborhoods predicted their tendencies to savor. Study 2 revealed that exposure to fast-food primes impeded participants’ ability to derive happiness from pictures of natural beauty. Study 3 showed that priming fast food undermined positive emotional responses to a beautiful melody by inducing greater impatience, measured by both subjective perception of time passage and self-reports of impatience experienced during the music. Together, these studies show that as pervasive symbols of impatience, fast food can inhibit savoring, producing negative consequences for how we experience pleasurable events.”
Picasso and friends want your full attention and appreciation. So the next time you head to your local museum, consider skipping the pit stop for a burger and fries.