Research by the University of Missouri-Kansas uncovers that the reward centers of children’s brains are pre-conditioned to react to the sight of the McDonald’s logo.
A new study conducted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center revealed that popular fast food brands could be ingrained in children’s brains at a young age. The research used MRI technology to monitor the brain activities of kids between the ages of 10 and 14 when they were shown a range of brands. The study found that food-related brands tapped into the ‘reward’ areas of the brain, whereas other brands like clothing, electronics, and toys didn’t elicit the same response. Dr. Amanda Bruce, who led the research team, explained that:
Research has shown children are more likely to choose those foods with familiar logos. That is concerning because the majority of foods marketed to children are unhealthy, calorifically-dense foods, high in sugars, fat, and sodium.
The research project will be published in the Oxford journal ‘Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience’ (SCAN), which will point out how branding and advertising have a powerful effect on children and supporting the argument with neuroimaging studies.