Looking to lose some extra pounds? Just in time for the scariest season of the year, researchers at Utrecht University in the Netherlands have come up with a novel weight-loss regimen: Have your dining companion make like Frankenstein—or Dracula, or Michele Bachmann, or whatever scares you most—across the supper table.
They designed an study in which participants were presented with either a yummy-looking plate of food or a non-edible control object, then shown facial expressions that indicated fear, disgust, or no reaction at all. The study subjects who were most vulnerable to visual food cues reacted less impulsively to the treats when shown the fearful faces, though the disgusted ones had no effect (which explains why your Great-Aunt Ida’s nauseated expression when you go back for seconds at Thanksgiving dinner only ticks you off). So haul out those Freddie Kruger masks and lose weight now!