Eating endorphin inspiring foods – such as chocolate – while performing similarly stimulating activities – such as watching television – leads to a ‘confused relationship with one’s environment’, says Doctor Christine Richwell of Montmorency Social Research Institute.
Monitoring the brain and hormone activity of subjects, Doctor Richwell demonstrated that those who consumed chocolate while watching television, playing on a game console or interacting with a mobile device exhibited signs of ‘falling in love’. The patterns observed by those participants in the study who did consume the food closely correlated to the state of being in love, even when the chocolate was later removed.
“It seems that the chocolate encourages false feelings to emerge. What’s not clear is whether the ‘love’ is directed toward the device or what is being presented upon the device,” she says, “Or if it is not directed at anything in particular. What is clear is that the consumption of food in conjunction with leisure activities creates an artificial world in which the participant experiences unreasonable feelings toward inanimate objects and greatly increases the chance that they will demonstrate unreasonable emotions in relation to that device.”
The study rose from an observation regarding divorcees, that in a proportionally significant number of cases, one or both of the divorcees had trouble relating to the real world as determined by an online psychological test.
“We’re not talking huge percentages, but they are significant. Ten to fifteen percent based upon a study done in Amsterdam. Marriages are only one victim of this kind of dissonance between reality and one’s emotions,” she goes on to say, “If I can demonstrate that humans are ‘loving’ their devices more than other humans, or objectophilia, then we’ve got a real problem on our hands. The normal human emotions of love, compassion and empathy should be applied to other humans, not electronic devices.”
When asked whether she recommends people stop eating chocolate while watching television, Doctor Richwell is cautious, “No, I don’t think that’s the answer. That would be a simplistic solution to what is really a complex problem. I believe the real problem is understanding and controlling one’s emotions, putting more effort into researching whether particular content is what is evoking such a response and what the long term effects of such disorders may be on the person, their families and the greater community. Whether or not there should be legislation to prevent such interactions, that is not for me to say.”
Doctor Richwell avoided answering questions about whether providers were deliberately altering their content to take advantage of the amorous response. She says that while it is entirely possible, and even plausible, that such companies could have found a formula to produce such sensations and keep their audiences ‘hooked’, her scientific research does not hold enough data to draw any conclusions.
“I’m a scientist, not an activist,” she says, “I can only show you what I have found, nothing more.”