Credit cards reduce the “pain” we feel when paying for things. Because of this we’re inclined to spend more with them — including food.
Using credit cards greatly reduces the pain associated with paying for our purchases— so much so, in fact, that credit cards have earned the nickname “spending facilitators” by those of us who do research in this area. When we use credit cards, we make quicker purchase decisions, are more likely to buy, and are willing to pay more.
But can credit cards make us fat? The answer to this question is an unqualified yes. When we use credit cards instead of cash at fast-food restaurants, we spend anywhere from 60 to 100 percent more. The average bill at McDonald’s, for example, increased from $ 4.50 to $ 7.00 when customers started using credit cards instead of cash. I call this the “supersize effect” of credit cards.
Women eat substantially less when paired with an attractive man.
They told the women in one condition, their conversation partner was this guy who was a stud. He was the captain of the football team, editor of the student paper, valedictorian, going to law school, had a very high GPA, he liked travel and photography. A studly guy, who wouldn’t like that kind of a guy?
The other women were told your dating partner is this other guy and he tried out for the football team and was cut, he proofreads for the student newspaper, has a C average, his career ambition is not making money and his only hobby is watching TV. You’re having this conversation with this stud for some women, the lucky women or this dud for the other women. The researcher sets them up in this room, the woman and one of two partners. As an after thought she says, “Oh, this bowl of M&Ms was left over from a psychology department party yesterday. Help yourselves.” The researcher puts the bowl on the table in between them and walks away.
Of course, they film what’s happening in the get-to-know-you conversation and the only thing the researchers care about is how many M&Ms get eaten. The woman is talking to the dud, guess how much she eats? A lot. Is there more? Is there another bowl that’s left over because I’m hungry, hello? If she’s talking to the stud, guess how much she eats? Like one, because she had a big lunch.
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