Archive for December, 2010

Musing: Getting full on imagination
December 10, 2010

My ears perked up as I heard a piece on NPR’s Morning Edition today about a study just published in the Journal of Science about how thinking about food influences how much we eat.

An Assistant Professor at Carnegie Mellon brought in volunteers to sit in cubicles in front of computer screens. One group was shown images of M&Ms, one at a time and was asked to imagine placing each candy in a bowl. The other group was shown the same images of M&Ms, one at a time and asked to envision eating them. Then they brought in real bowls filled with M&Ms and invited the volunteers to eat what they wanted. The candy movers ate nearly twice as much as those who imagined eating them all along! The volunteers who spent their mental energy imagining that they were eating exhibited a higher level of dopamine in their brains as if they had really consumed the candies. Can this be a new dieting strategy? What a fascinating idea!

While it may not be conclusive, the study does get me thinking about other activities in which we might engage our imagination and feel satisfied enough so that we limit real action. I’ll let you readers come up with your own scenarios.

In this age when we are easily immersed in virtual worlds—armchair traveling, or experiencing intense relationships with friends we only know online, or exploring fantasy lands through IMAX and special effects, are our personal worlds of imagination increasingly more satisfying than our experiences in “reality?”

Interesting to ponder the significance….

Laurie Tema-Lyn
Practical Imagination Enterprises