The best way to deal with boredom is to look at what you like and try to keep eating what you love.
That’s what psychologist Steven Pinker did when he surveyed Americans about how they consume food.
When asked how they prefer to eat, the survey found that people preferred to eat in small portions, and those who ate in large portions preferred to make meals from scratch.
The researchers also asked respondents how much they liked to watch TV, which they did with a questionnaire designed to capture the preference for TV in general.
When the results were released, the study’s authors said the study had found “strong evidence for an innate preference for television watching” among American adults.
That might sound counterintuitive, but according to Pinker, the TV viewing was a way for people to control their appetites and to make themselves feel good about themselves, not necessarily about what they liked.
That may explain why we’re often more drawn to food when it tastes good, rather than when it’s good for us.
In the book The Better Angels of Our Nature Pinker writes that he has “seen in a number of cultures a sense of entitlement to food that is far more widespread than any cultural tradition I have studied, from the Greek, Indian, and Japanese, to the more distant cultures of the Middle East and South Asia.”
But Pinker says that’s not the whole story.
When it comes to our appetites, “there is nothing innate about human appetites,” he says.
“They may be inherited.
Or they may be adaptive to the environment we grew up in.”
That environment is likely to be one of the factors that makes us feel better about ourselves.
That sense of control comes in handy, he says, because it keeps us from craving a food that we don’t like.
“In a world that has a lot of food, it’s very easy for us to be satisfied by one thing and want another thing,” he explains.
“If we don and want something else, we feel bad about ourselves and feel guilty.
And if we’re not satisfied, we start to feel depressed, because we don of what we’re eating.
It’s a kind of feedback loop.
“It says that if you are happy, then you will be happy all the time.””
The idea that food is a way to make you feel good is really a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Pinker adds.
“It says that if you are happy, then you will be happy all the time.”