While the results do not reflect reality, where we are typically exposed to multiple streams of news, images and tweets, we would still notice and process how many followers a Twitter account has, says Tessitore, it is therefore likely it will have the same effect.
But right now, we’re a long way from getting people to adopt healthier diets with articles on salads and steer people away from the powerful images of oozing protein.
âWe’re fighting years of evolution here,â Pancer says. âThere’s a reason we’ve evolved to seek out high calorie foods in environments where food is scarce. But eating what feels good is a failure – now we need to find ways to recalibrate that. “
Pancer found in his research that as soon as you demystify why seeing pictures of burgers and fries feels good, the feel-good effect wears off. In other words, if we understand that we are biologically programmed to feel good when we see pictures of burgers, perhaps we can become less inclined to be influenced by it.
In one study, he and his team asked participants to watch one of two videos, one with light calorie foods and one with high calorie foods. Those who looked at higher calorie foods felt more positive afterward.
In part two of the study, he told participants that their feelings were not based on the food they were about to see, but on low-frequency, mood-boosting sound, which was played, a sound that was not detectable to humans. , while a second group had no influence.
Those told about the sound were no more likely to say they would engage with the video on social media after watching the high-calorie food video.
But at the end of the day, when we turn off social media and go back to real life, the many influences on what we eat and how we eat are even stronger, experts say.
“I expect the food signals to be stronger in person,” says Argeseanu. âWe don’t engage the same way when scrolling through photos, and we don’t engage for long. Plus, some research shows that if we scroll through a lot of photos, we start ignoring them – we start to experience something that looks like fullness, like we’ve eaten them all. “
At least if you choose to only enjoy these parties on Instagram, you won’t need to loosen your belt.
If you liked this story, subscribe to the weekly newsletter on bbc.com features, called “The Essential List” – a selection of handpicked stories from the BBC Future, Culture, Working life, To travel and Reel delivered to your inbox every Friday.