Friday, February 25, 2011

Your Emotions Influenced By Other Senses

Why Guinness really is the black stuff. Scientists say stout makes you bitter

Last updated at 7:58 AM on 24th February 2011

The black stuff: It tastes good, but does it make us bitter?

The adverts always said Guinness is good for you. But it may be that drinking the black stuff makes you bitter as well as better.

In an intriguing study, scientists have linked tart tastes with an unforgiving mind.

And the more conservative a person’s views, the more their thoughts are affected by their tastebuds.

The findings suggest that drinks such as stout, bitter and gin and tonic should be drunk carefully among friends.

Downed in delicate situations, they could perhaps lead to people voicing thoughts they’ll later regret.

American researchers who asked 57 volunteers to rate how morally questionable a set of scenarios were on a scale of 1 to 100.

The hypothetical situations included a man eating his dog after it had died, a lawyer prowling hospitals for victims, a politician accepting bribes and a student accepting library books.

They were also asked where they stood politically. Before and halfway through the experiment, they were given a bitter drink, a sweet drink or water.

Those given water and the sugary drink judged the scenarios, roughly equally, this week’s New Scientist reports.

But those given the bitter drinks were much harder in their judgement, giving the scenarios a score that was on average 27 points higher.

And those with right-wing views were more strongly affected than those with more liberal attitudes.

Writing in the journal Psychological Science, the researchers from the City University of New York say it isn’t clear why taste has such a strong effect on behaviour.

But they suggest that jurors might be best to avoid bitter-tasting foods and drinks and question whether our taste in food somehow helps shape our political ideals.

The study is far from the first to explore links between our senses and our emotions.

For instance, feeling left out, unwanted or unloved actually makes us feel cold.

What is more, being left out is so chilling that those in the receiving end crave the comfort of a hot drink.

The finding could explain why chicken soup, hot chocolate, or simple cup of tea are often given to those suffering heartache or rejection.

Scientists have also shown that the feeling of disgust we have when we're treated unjustly is the same as the one we have when given a drink we don't like.

In other words, being treated unfairly really does leave a bad taste in the mouth.

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