One of the greatest things about going to the movies is the vast array of snacks and candies available to moviegoers to keep them satisfied while enjoying the entertainment of their choice.  Unfortunately, theaters across the country may begin to limit those choices because of a new study that has found that eating popcorn while at the movies seems to decrease the effectiveness of the advertisements shown before the feature film.

According to the Guardian, the study conducted by Cologne University researchers found that the simple act of chewing the popcorn helped film viewers ignore the advertisements. In fact, says the researchers, the act of chewing the popcorn got in the way of the natural tendency of people to say brand names when watching. Specifically, according to the Guardian article, advertisements stick in our brains when watching movies because:


Our lips and the tongue automatically simulate the pronunciation of a new name when we first hear it. Every time we re-encounter the name, our mouth subconsciously practices its pronunciation.


Essentially, what the researchers found is that because moviegoers are eating popcorn, the chewing motion is preventing our lips and tongue from repeating the name, hindering our power of memory – and advertisers are getting annoyed.


Called “inner speech,” the effect is only a problem when eating popcorn, and only when eating it throughout the advertisement period. So far, the researchers have found no connection between chewing other foods and ad ignorance, which one would think extremely strange.


Why Not When Eating Ohter Foods?

The study suggests that chewing is the mechanism that works to prevent people from remembering ads, or that how the information is presented, and if this is the case, then one would assume that chewing anything would cause the same thing to happen. But alas, this is not the case. It only happens when chewing popcorn, which leads to an important question…


Considering that chewing candy, hotdogs, nachos, and other foods don’t appear to affect people in the same way that chewing popcorn does, could it be that it is something else entirely that is affecting people’s memory, and not the chewing action by itself?


Chewing candy isn’t loud. Eating a hot dog isn’t loud. Chewing popcorn is. Maybe the chewing action combined with the crunching we hear internally is what’s causing the ignorance affect. We think that the researchers who tested the popcorn chewing theory using 96 people watching a movie should test the same people – or maybe a larger group – testing the sound theory. We’d be very interested in learning the outcome…


What you do think is the reason people chewing popcorn don’t remember the advertisements? Let us know in the comments below!