Do you see tons of pictures of your friends' dinners on social media? Interestingly, those that post food photos may actually have the right idea.
The Daily Mail reports that a new study shows performing rituals before eating or drinking, like making a toast or even taking photos of your food, can improve the taste of food.
In a series of four experiments, a team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and Harvard University tested the effect of performing rituals before eating. Some participants in the study were asked to perform a ritual, opening a chocolate bar in a particular way, while other participants were instructed to relax and eat it in any way they'd like. Those who performed the ritual enjoyed the bar more and were willing to pay more for it. Through this and three similar experiments, researchers established that:
Rituals allow people to savor food more.
Only rituals, not "random movements" lead to increased enjoyment of food.
A long pause between ritual and taking a bite only increased enjoyment.
Rituals only have this effect if you are a participant. Watching others will not have the same effect.
Rituals enhance the taste of food because they heighten interest and awareness in the experience, which can heighten your senses.
Researchers are excited about how rituals can have an effect outside of the realm of food. Check out the slideshow above to find out where else scientists think rituals can help and why food photography may be unhealthy.
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