Locations of High-Calorie Food (10-09-20)

We seem to have a special ability to remember the locations of high-calorie foods—no wonder our society is tubbier than it should be. De Vries and colleagues “explored whether human spatial cognition is enhanced for high-calorie foods, in a large multisensory experiment that covertly tested the location memory of people who navigated a maze-like food setting. We found that individuals incidentally learned and more accurately recalled locations of high-calorie foods – regardless of explicit hedonic [pleasure-related] valuations or personal familiarity with foods. In addition, the high-calorie bias in human spatial memory already became evident within a limited sensory environment, where solely odor information was available. These results suggest that human minds continue to house a cognitive system optimized for energy-efficient foraging within erratic food habitats of the past.”

Rachelle de Vries, Paulina Morquecho-Campos, Emely de Vet, Marielle de Rijk, Elbrich Postma, Kees de Graaf, Bas Engel, and Sanne Boesveldt. 2020.   “Human Spatial Memory Implicitly Prioritizes High-Calorie Foods.” Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 15174, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-72570-x