As if we needed another reason to indulge in a good dessert with friends, now research shows that chocolate may taste better when shared.
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Using a small sample of 23 women, Yale University researchers found that people liked chocolate more and found it more flavorful when it was eaten simultaneously with another person than when eaten alone. (So that's why you always seem to over-do it on girl's night!) By the same token, when researchers swapped the pleasant chocolate for an unpleasant bitter baking chocolate, the participants felt the chocolate tasted worse when eaten in the shared experience condition.
What gives? The ‘why’ remains a bit of a mystery, researchers say, but the study authors think the reason may be due in part to the increase in our ‘attentional focus,' and the fact that while sharing an experience, we tend to think more about both what the other person is thinking, and what we are thinking, which then amplifies our own perceptions.
Sure, there's still something to be said for enjoying alone time. But it's always nice to have science support that every-now-and-then night on the couch with the girls, a piece of chocolate cake, and a chick flick—right? (The good news: The research probably holds true for your favorite healthy and yummy foods too.)