Posts Tagged ‘Psychology’

People Who Like Sweets Have Sweeter Personalities

Friday, October 21st, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Being a consumer of sweets I was thrilled to see a study prove that my fantastic “sweet” disposition can be directly attributed to Choclatique Chocolate. RIGHT?

Well, here’s the “skinny” on “sweets.” There was a recent study based on experiments with college kids that found people who like sweets are friendlier and more likely to help someone in need than people who prefer spicy or bitter foods. The results suggest there is a robust link between sweet tastes and pro-social behavior. Okay, I know it might seem like a giant, sugar-coated overgeneralization to say that people with sweet dispositions also really like sweets, but new studies are giving some weight to the idea.

Five studies converged on this idea. Study 1 revealed that people believed strangers who liked sweet foods (e.g., candy) were also higher in agreeableness. Studies 2 and 3 showed that individual differences in the preference for sweet foods predicted pro-social personalities, pro-social intentions and pro-social behaviors. Studies 4 and 5 used experimental designs and showed that momentarily savoring a sweet food (vs. a non-sweet food or no food) increased participants’ self-reports of agreeableness and helping behavior. The results reveal that an embodied metaphor approach provides a complementary but unique perspective to traditional trait views of personality.

The summary of the findings were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, show that people who like sweets are also more likely to be agreeable, friendly and compassionate than people who prefer other tastes, like bitter or spicy foods. Researchers also found that people given sweet foods were more likely to help someone in need afterward, compared with people who don’t eat anything or people who eat a bland food.

“Such findings reveal that metaphors can lead to unique and provocative predictions about people’s behaviors and personality traits,” says study researcher Michael D. Robinson, of North Dakota State University. The findings were based from a series of experiments involving college students.

Oh, by the way, another study published earlier this year also shows that there seems to be an association between having a sweet tooth and having a slim waist (though that study was admittedly funded by the National Confectioners Association and certainly nothing that fits my waistline), but researchers said that’s likely because they exercise more to compensate for the extra calories.

Okay, here it comes, the shameless plug for my new adventure cookbook. If you’re interested in learning more about chocolate, its affects on the human body and improving your disposition, buy my new book—Choclatique—150 Simply Elegant Desserts. It is sprinkled with QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)… those funny little Rorschach squares you see popping up seemingly everywhere these days. When scanned by a smart phone they take you to a video of the ChefSecret that is at the end of many of the recipes. This is the first time that this technology has been available to be used in the publishing of a cookbook.

And, lastly and most important, the recipes make luscious tasting desserts perfectly the first time and every time there after. It is a foolproof guide to making all of your favorite desserts and improving your sweet disposition and those all around you.

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron ––––––––––––––– Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • Available now on the Choclatique Website and in Book Stores

CHOCLATIQUE by Ed Engoron
Full-Color Throughout 256 pages • 8 x 10 $27.00 /$31.50 CAN /£14.99 UK ISBN 978-0-7624-3964-5 • hc Available on the Choclatique Website and Book Stores, September, 2011

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I Love The Smell Of Chocolate In The Morning

Friday, August 12th, 2011
Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Do you want to feel better? Just a whiff of chocolate can do it.

Just before you ripped the wrapper off your chocolate bar yesterday, did you take a moment to have a good sniff of the unwrapped bar?

While just eating chocolate is enough to put most of us in a good frame of mind and now latest research suggests “odor du chocolat” – just the smell of it – can improve your mood.

This happy news comes from the Human Olfaction Laboratory at Middlesex University, where Neil Martin, a reader in psychology, investigates the effects of room smells on human behavior. In his laboratory, Martin has a square box called an AromaCube, which heats up “odorants” and percolates the smell around the room. That is where Chocolate smells like a “great tasting” theory.

From that box, Martin discovered the power of chocolate in an experiment where he filled rooms with three smells, one of chocolate, a “malodor” of machine oil, which most people find unpleasant, and a lemony, pleasant-but-alerting odor, then monitored testers’ moods.

The aim was to compare the effects of pleasant and unpleasant ambient odors on stress, anxiety, depression and mood. The results proved that that the smell of chocolate really does make people less stressed and anxious, and more relaxed.

Chocoholics will also be pleased to hear about some of Martin’s earlier research. In another study he looked at the effect of chocolate on brain activity. People were presented with a range of smells, some artificial food odors and some real food odors, with both samples including chocolate. He used electroencephalography technology to record his participants’ brain waves as they sniffed the air, and found that in both experiments, the chocolate smell consistently led to a reduction in a particular type of brain activity called theta, which is thought to be an index of attentiveness. Theta levels dropped significantly across both indexes when testees smelled chocolate.

The experiment also shows there is no need for chocolate snobbery. We all know connoisseurs say posh chocolate, with a higher cocoa content, is better for your health, and it might be in some ways, but when it comes to the aroma of chocolate and its resultant relaxing effect, it was found it was the same however much milk the bar contained.

But some of his other scent findings provide more significant practical effects. It seems that scent can affect employment. One study found that a combination of perfume and formal dress worn by an applicant led interviewers to rate them as less warm, more manipulative and less presentable. The study also showed people perform less well on cognitive tasks and report more symptoms of ill health when smelling a “bad” smell.

As a result, people should be aware of their “olfactory environment” to control their feelings. People can use scents to improve alertness, well-being and reduce anxiety. “For example, another study showed that women in a dentist’s waiting room scented with orange reported less anxiety than those in an unscented counterpart.

In another experiment, PlayStations were loaded with a car rally game to test the effect of a lemon smell on driving ability. Men and women were invited to play the game on three different levels and in three different environments, one in an odorless room, one smelling of lemon, and one of machine oil.

The results showed that participants were consistently able to brake more safely and appropriately in the presence of the lemon scent. It’s perhaps because the smell is citrusy and alerting, and suggests that dangling a lemon-scented air freshener in the car could make you a better driver.

The psychology of aromas is like a Rubik’s cube—hard to pin down and more difficult to describe. The problem is science doesn’t really understand smells yet. We have vague terms for them, and say things like “it smells like this or that,” but we don’t have chemical terms for most odors.

One thing is certain, however. The effects of most smells tend to be short-lived. With the exception of chocolate, we get used to odors very quickly and after a while the odor disappears because we become habituated to it.

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