Image: Polycart via flickr
That's right, according to a recent study, if you stroll the aisles of a supermarket with a shopping cart instead of a basket, you're likely to make healthier choices. Published in the Journal of Marketing Research, the study found that basket carriers were more than three times as likely to choose unhealthy items over healthy items than their cart-pushing counterparts. Or the way the study puts it, "Basket shoppers were more likely to choose the vice over the virtue than cart shoppers."
Because, the researchers suggest, holding a basket can trigger a desire for instant gratification. You'll want fast, easy rewards, without ever realizing your body movements are affecting what your brain tells you to do.
On the other hand, keeping your arm extended will keep you more focused on long-term goals and, in the study, is "repeatedly associated with rejecting undesired objects."
It's something called "embodied cognition"—the notion that cognitive function and the decision-making process are affected by physical bodily movements.
The researchers did a couple experiments that didn't involve baskets or carts in order to generalize the findings beyond the context of shopping. The study says those experiments confirmed it's more the bodily motion than the actual basket or cart that influences our choices: "enacting motor actions associated with approach leads to a preference for immediate over delayed benefits."
More on grocery shopping:
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