by Lexi Novak
The assault of red, heart-shaped paraphernalia at the entrance of every drugstore is a dead giveaway that Valentine's Day is approaching. And whether you fall on the grumpy/cynical or mushy/googly-eyed side of the fourteenth, in one way or another, love gets to us all. And now science has shown that one of those ways might just be by altering our taste perceptions.
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In a study published in the journal Emotion, researchers primed participants to experience either love, jealousy, or a neutral feeling. The subjects then sampled both bittersweet and sweet-and-sour candies and ranked them on taste. Those primed with love reported all of the treats as sweeter than individuals in the jealous and neutral categories.
For the second part of the study, a different group of volunteers was primed and asked to analyze the flavor profile of plain distilled water (they were told it was a new beverage product). Despite the water being unflavored, the lovebirds again claimed the drink was sweeter.
Is it kind of annoying to know that all the love drunks out there are living in a sweeter, candy-coated world? Absolutely. But interestingly, the study also found that the jealous participants did not experience increased bitter flavors. The good-news takeaway: You don't have to be in love to enjoy a box of chocolates this V-Day.