TASTE INFLUENCES OUR DECISIONS
Our sense of taste can influence behavioral reactions.
Not everyone likes lemons but they can push you to make bolder decisions say scientists at Sussex University.
It used to be that there were four classic tastes, but not too long ago another was added – umami or “savory”. The sensation of umami, as Wikipedia suggests, is created by glutamates and several amino acids – all food additives.
A couple of years ago, other scientists discovered a sixth taste, which has starch and some carbohydrates. But the British scientists have confined themselves to five.
In their experiment they made several drinks, one being neutral, and the others salty, sweet, sour, and bitter, as well as umami.
After 70 subjects imbibed these drinks, they were offered to play a relatively risky video game with an all-in option, where you either win money or lose everything.
Those who tasted umami or sweet tended to make conservative decisions. But those who had sour drinks took terrible chances. Their decisions were 40% more risky than that of the “conservative” participants.
The experiment seems absurd, but when it was repeated with the same number of participants in Vietnam, where no one is unfamiliar with umami, the results were the same.
In conclusion, there are no clear findings that sourness provokes risk-taking behavior, but it hints at it.
TASTE IS INFLUENTIAL. SO HOW DO WE USE IT?
If the sour-risk connection can be proven in situations other than video games, then people who experience anxiety when confronted with choice can just eat something sour…
They could try this without waiting for new research, though.
But it also seems reasonable for people of professions with high levels of responsibility, where excess risk is dangerous (politicians, surgeons, pilots), to not abuse the sour.
Photo by Noah Buscher on Unsplash