Essay Example on People do not give attention to their meals









In recent years it has come to scientists attention that people do not give attention to their meals as much in Western society In the United States people live to work and with the progression of technology people's eating patterns have significantly changed Due to demanding work schedules and limited time for lunch breaks people depend on fast food so that they can multitask and eat while they work Previous research conducted by R C van der Wal and L F van Dillen 2013 explored how performing concurrent activities affects taste perception and how it relates to actual consumption van der Wal and van Dillen s research found that under high task load participants rated the substances as less intense consumed more of the substances and preferred stronger tastants Their findings suggest that an increased task load reduces taste perception by limiting a person's attention and therefore capacity to assess taste intensity Paying more attention to one task may reduce the attention a person pays while tasting a substance 

Cognitive resources are used to engage in mental activity However distributing cognitive resources can be limited When cognitive resources are assigned to specific tasks e g memorizing information mental processing of other activities can be delayed van der Wal and van Dillen 2013 conducted a study in which they found that participants who engaged in a demanding mental activity high task load had more difficulty with another simultaneous task tasting a substance for its sweetness saltiness or sourness than participants who engaged in a low task load activity This suggests that the high task load interfered with the taste perception because the participants did not have sufficient residual cognitive resources to allocate to the tasting due to limited resources appointed to a separate demanding task Another study that focuses on the limits of cognitive resources measured the amount of food pizza and macaroni and cheese eaten while watching television Blass Anderson Kirkorian Pempek Price Koleini 2006 Watching television increased consumption of both pizza and macaroni and cheese 71 increase of the latter food 

People dedicate substantial cognitive resources while watching television and thus pay less attention to food intake resulting in eating more food than they would consume These studies reveal that cognitive resources are not infinite They are limited and people do not have the ability to focus on one task if they are devoting resources to another simultaneous task Several findings from previous literature focus on the role of cognitive load and the effect it has on attention Cognitive load is the total amount of mental effort used in the working memory Working memory is the part of short term memory that is concerned with immediate conscious perceptual processing The cognitive load theory suggests that working memory can be overloaded in complex learning tasks Rasmussen Konge Mikkelsen Sorensen Andersen 2006 In a study conducted by Zhang 2014 the effects of two forms of distraction visual manual and cognitive audio with comparison under both operational and tactical driving was conducted Zhang s results found that drivers ability to accommodate either visual or cognitive distractions in lead car following tasks but not passing other cars tasks Acquiring new information requires concentration and the use of other cognitive resources However the way in which new information is presented can affect how well the information is remembered 

For example a study conducted Cohen Horowitz Wolfe 2009 examined if auditory memory is comparable to visible memory Participants listened to a variety of sound clips and were tested on their ability to distinguish old clips from new clips In this study presentation modality ranged from complex auditory scenes talking in a pool hall to isolated auditory objects a dog barking to music The results showed that in every situation auditory memory proved to be systematically inferior to visual memory Thus there seems to be a fundamental difference between auditory and visual stimuli Many people especially students usually have a preferred mode of learning whether it be visually aurally or kinesthetically Smith and Hunt 1998 for example presented lists of words e g slumber dreams snore snooze that are all related to another word that was not on the list e g sleep Smith and Hunt later asked participants to recall all the presented words The results presented that participants were more likely to falsely remember the non presented word e g sleep if the words had been presented aurally than if they had been presented visually Hence different modes of presentation of material can affect memory and may engage cognitive processing resources differently 

The present study focuses on furthering our understanding of how sharing cognitive resources among simultaneous tasks can interfere with taste perception Taste perception depends not only on the chemical and physical properties of tastants but may also depend on the physiological and psychological conditions of the people tasting Nakagawa Mizuma Inui 1996 Research has shown for example that coordinating between two or more tasks can lead to impaired performance Kasper Cecotti Touryan Eckstein Giesbrecht 2014 Similar effects of task load have been reported on neural correlations of attentional load Chan Kucyi DeSouza 2015 The general goal of the experiment was to test whether different modes of presentation e g aurally or visually have an effect on the perception of taste Participants will be asked to first study and remember a passage of text about a relatively unknown topic The passage will be presented either visually or aurally Then they will taste a small quantity of commercially available tomato juice with either low sodium concentration or normal amounts of sodium before being tested on the passage Finally they will be asked to rate the saltiness of the tomato juice If the participant devotes cognitive resources to remembering the passage while tasting the juice then they should perceive it as less salty If visual or aural presentations of the passages engage cognitive resources differently then taste perception may also be affected

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