Could Your Drink Taste Different Depending on Where You Drink It?

Have you ever been on a vacation where you enjoyed a glass of wine so much that you decided to bring a bottle back with you, only to be disappointed that it doesn’t taste as good as you remember when you drink it at home?

If so, then you’ve experienced what scientists are calling the Provençal Rosé Paradox. The theory is that our brains formulate our perception of an experience with two distinct processes. The first process is recognizing what’s happening through analyzing sensory input, for example this could mean recognizing the fact that you’re drinking a glass of red wine. The second is higher-level processing that’s linked to personal concepts, expectations, past experiences, etc…

This higher-level processing causes us to associate our perceived enjoyment of a sensory experience with more than strictly sensory input. More simply put, this is what causes us to believe that in a particular moment or setting, we enjoy something more or less than we actually do once that moment or setting changes.

Gastrophysicist Professor Charles Spence is one of the pioneers behind this science, and his research explores the unique effect our environment and mood can have on our perception of taste. “We all think we can ignore the ‘everything else’—the lighting, background music, even glassware,” he says. “And yet a growing body of scientific research shows that all of these extrinsic factors influence what we taste and how much we enjoy the experience…Ultimately, we always drink somewhere, and wherever we drink, there are contextual environmental cues that can influence the experience. Our mood can change how things taste,” says Spence. “I don’t think you can ever ignore the environment.”

 

Want to read more details about this phenomenon and Professor Spence’s research? Click here! >>>

 

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