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Conducting a small ritual before eating increases the enjoyment of a meal. Does Instagramming it qualify?
Ever get annoyed with your friends snapping photos of your meal at a restaurant before you’re allowed to tuck in? Do they get mad at you for doing it? Well, food photo fetishists now have a perfect excuse: There’s evidence to suggest Instagramming your food can make it more flavorful.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Harvard University found performing rituals before you take your first bite can actually make a meal taste better and help you savor it longer. Since the act of snapping, editing, and sharing a photo is a ritual, Uproxx extrapolated the hypothesis to argue Instagramming food makes it taste better.
The researchers carried out four experiments for a paper published in the Psychological Science journal this month. The first found those who carried out a ritual before eating chocolate found it “more flavorful, valuable, and deserving of behavioral savoring.” A delay between a ritual and eating apparently makes the latter more enjoyable, while making random gestures before chowing down was less effective in making the grub more sumptuous.
But just watching your friends whip out their phones and update their Instagrams wont give you the same effect as participating yourself. The fourth experiment in the study showed that “rituals enhance the enjoyment of consumption because of the greater involvement in the experience that they prompt.”
It doesn’t just have to be snapping photos. It could be tapping a desk, saying grace, or doing 50 jumping jacks while gazing at your reward for exercising. Rituals seem to prepare your mind for what comes ahead and make you more involved in a given situation.
Somehow, the knowledge that all the food-porn on Instagram was probably even more delicious than it looks in photos doesn’t make us any less envious of our fine-dining friends. Maybe the next study should investigate whether viewing friends’ foodstagrams from afar leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth.
Photo via a1lannie/Instagram
Based in Montreal, Kris Holt has been writing about technology and web culture since 2010. He writes for Engadget and Tech News World, and his byline has also appeared in Paste, Salon, International Business Times, Mashable, and elsewhere.