If you could be tricked into thinking you’re eating more than you actually are, or make a tasteless, low-calorie snack taste like a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie, would you do it?
Thanks to researchers at the University of Tokyo, you might be able to.
Professor Michitaka Hirose at the university’s graduate school of information science and technology and his team have developed virtual reality devices to make people believe their small snack is bigger, or their plain snack is chocolate by fooling various senses.
One device, nicknamed ‘diet goggles,’ sends an image of the user’s hand holding a cookie to a computer. The computer then magnifies the size of the cookie’but not the hand’and displays it to the user. The result? People believe they are eating more. In the study, people consumed 10 percent less when the cookies appeared 50 percent bigger.
Another creation was the ‘meta cookie’ (sounds delicious, right?) which uses headgear with scent bottles and visuals to trick the user into thinking their snack is a tantalizing one. They can even set the ‘meta cookie’ to release the scent of their favourite flavor.
The thought of eating chocolate for every meal certainly appeals to me, but wearing headgear every time I sit down for dinner isn’t exactly appealing.
Hirose’s idea that ‘Reality is in your mind,’ is definitely an interesting one though. I’m sure my mom would have loved a device like this when I was younger and refused to eat anything but grilled cheese and chips.
What do you think? Would you trick your (or your kid’s) mind for the sake of your waistline?
-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor