Stuffed With Memories

Dec 13 2012 @ 9:25am

Eating at your desk has its disadvantages:

We've known for a while that people who are distracted while eating — such as by watching TV or typing — are not really thinking about what they're eating. They're not making memories of the food, and may be setting themselves up for later hunger. This area of research is helping scientists to better understand "how our memory for food comes to influence the decisions we make and the amount of food we eat," says Jeffrey Brunstrom, an experimental psychologist at the University of Bristol in the U.K.

More on this effect:

Further evidence that memory matters for satiation comes from amnesiacs who suffer from a condition called hyperphagia, in which they cannot remember what they've eaten. In those patients, Brunstrom says, "if they eat lots of meals, they tend to feel just bloated, but they don't necessarily feel full. We think that they can't actually attribute [the signals from their bodies] to what has taken place." Brunstrom says, "the memory was dominating hunger," not the actual number of calories consumed.