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Haste vs. Happiness

August 27, 2012

If you consume something too rapidly, you may enjoy it less than if you space out consumption.



Speed and satisfaction…I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

If you eat too rapidly, you’ll enjoy the food less than if you consume it more slowly.  This according to behavioral psychologist Jeff Galek of Carnegie Mellon Univesity. He and his team offered volunteers chocolate candy. They ate it at either a pre-determined rate chosen by them, or at a slower rate chosen for them by the researchers.

JEFF GALEK (Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University):

When people chose a rate of consumption for themselves, they chose to consume pretty quickly, usually twice as fast as they could have, and that led to decreases in enjoyment – significant ones. So not only did the experience last for a shorter period of time, but their experience was not as enjoyable as when we spaced out consumption.


Galek says the novelty of consuming something pleasurable wears off fast if people fill up on it too quickly. But putting enough time between bouts of consumption can keep it satisfying. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

This man seems freakishly happy. Perhaps that's because he's timed his cookie consumption for maximum enjoyment. (Jupiter Images)