Try This Experiment the Next Time You Eat!

A simple illusion might let you have a new kind of eating experience. I do love an experiment that allows me to combine gluttony and curiosity.

So you like to eat. Good for you! But there's no reason to be boring about it. There are some pretty interesting experiments you can do with food. One of them is simple, but might yield some really interesting meals.

The experiment was simple. People were blindfolded, and then asked to eat a pretzel, while holding another pretzel. (From this, we can see the weakness of the experiment. If gluten intolerant people are immune to this effect, we'll never know.) Sometimes both pretzels were stale. Sometimes they were both fresh. Sometimes one was stale, and the other was fresh. Scientists found that when people ate a fresh pretzel, while holding a stale one, they had a kind of half-fresh, half-stale taste experience. They also had mixed feelings about the overall freshness of the food.

Anyone who has bitten into something that they expect to be soggy and finds it crispy - even if both of those states are acceptable on their own - knows how much our expectation of food influences how we experience food. A blind taste test, simultaneous with a blind feel taste, might make a great at-home experiment. Try eating a banana while holding an apple slice, or eating some potato chips while holding carrot sticks. You could discover - all by yourself - a whole new side to this phenomenon.

Image: USDA

[Via An Illusion You Can Sink Your Teeth Into.]