I knew there was a reason that I break the chocolate bar int small pieces and slowly eat them one little square at a time. Also in another life I worked in food plants and lunch & dinner was always short on time, most people just wore their coveralls to the mess hall. I always took my coveralls & rubber boots off and ate wearing my regular jeans & such, always seemed to make a difference in the way the food tasted & my attitude after the meal.
All of us carry out rituals in our daily lives, whether it is shaking hands or clinking glasses before we drink. At this time of year, the performance of customs and traditions is widespread – from sharing crackers, to pulling the wishbone on the turkey and lighting the Christmas pudding.
These rituals might seem like light-hearted traditions, but I’m going to try and persuade you that they are echoes of our evolutionary history, something which can tell us about how humans came to relate to each other before we had language. And the story starts by exploring how rituals can make our food much tastier.
In recent years, studies have suggested that performing small rituals can influence people’s enjoyment of what they eat. In one experiment, Kathleen Vohs from the University of Minnesota and colleagues explored how ritual affected people’s experience of eating a chocolate bar. Half of the…
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