It’s your birthday! You hate attention. But you do love cake. So before you stuff your gullet with red velvet deliciousness, you’d better suffer through the annual off-key embarrassment of everyone singing “Happy Birthday” to you – and then blow out the candles and make a wish, too. That’s because a new study suggests that performing a ritual before eating — even a silly thing like our American birthday traditions – actually makes the food taste better.
“We found that people’s attention is piqued when they perform a ritual and that helps them to be more involved in what they are eating or drinking,” said Kathleen D. Vohs, professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, and lead author of the new study, in an email. “Even new rituals – that people never had done before – when done before eating or drinking make food taste better.”
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