Rituals Make Food (and Drinks) Taste Better


One night as she was enjoying an evening with friends, professor Kathleen Vohs, who teaches marketing at the University of Minnesota, was disappointed to find that the bottle of wine she had bought earlier came with a screw top, not a cork. “I missed the whole ritual of unwrapping the foil and inserting the corkscrew, and feeling that tension,” she says. “It has so many dimensions because I can feel the foil, but everyone else can hear the pop — you know that very satisfying pop.” Because the wine bottle was missing that pop, Vohs and her company agreed that the wine probably wouldn’t be as flavorful.

Vohs proved that suspicion correct in a study published July 17 in the journal Psychological Science. According to the study, which she co-authored with two other professors, the little rituals we perform before eating make the actual noshing more enjoyable. Eating is…

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