How do you control your craving when you feel like having a chocolate cake or a yummy cheesy pizza! Our researchers have come up with a great study which proves that when you imagine eating a certain food, it reduces your actual consumption of that food. This is a new study by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, published in Science.
So next time whenever you have a craving for a fatty or unhealthy food, just stare at it for a few minutes and you will end up eating a lot lesser of it.
The CMU research team tested the effects of repeatedly imagining the consumption of a food on its actual consumption. "These findings suggest that trying to suppress one's thoughts of desired foods in order to curb cravings for those foods is a fundamentally flawed strategy," said Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor of social and decision sciences.
Results also showed that the reduction in actual consumption after imagining consumption was due to habituation. This is a gradual reduction in motivation to eat more of the food rather than alternative psychological processes such as priming or a change in the awareness of the food's taste.
Other implications of this research include the discovery that mental imagery can enact habituation in the absence of pre-ingestive sensory stimulation and that repeatedly stimulating an action can trigger its behavioural consequences.