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February 4, 2014

Study: Love Makes Life Sweeter

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Written by: Elisa Freese
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Love: it’s what we spend months, years or even our whole lives trying to find. A great love has the ability to bring happiness and a certain brightness to our lives. But guess what? It also makes life sweeter…literally.

A study was just posted in the December 2013 issue of the journal Emotion showing that love has the ability to alter one’s sensory perceptions. They also discovered that not every emotion can provoke this change in someone; jealousy, for one, does not.

The study was conducted out of the University of Singapore and explored the “love is sweet” and “jealousy is bitter” metaphors to see whether these phrases proved true.

Three studies were conducted with the first two asking students from the university to write about either an experience with love, jealousy or a neutral topic. After the writing part was completed, students were asked to try a sweet-and-sour gummy candy, as well as a bittersweet chocolate. (Interesting fact: A lot of time was spent on taste testing various candies in order to find the candies with the perfect balance of sweet and sour. Sounds like a pretty sweet job right?)

All 197 students were then asked to rank the candies in order of sweetness, bitterness and sourness. As you might have guessed, the students who wrote about love ranked both candies as sweeter than those who wrote about jealousy or a more neutral topic. This is where they found that jealousy did not affect the student’s perception of the candies being more bitter.

Following the candy study came a water study. New students were brought in to see whether regular old distilled water tasted sweet, bitter or sour and again, love made the water seem sweeter and jealousy did not affect the taste.

What makes these studies important? It showed researchers that this obviously was not a reaction on the tongue, but rather one that affects the brain. Love actually triggers a reaction in the brain causing us to taste things sweeter. It also showed that these “embodied metaphors” the researchers were studying may only develop after a great deal of experience. It’s believed that the “love is sweet” metaphor may date back to our childhood years of breast milk or formula, which attributes the taste of those drinks to the love our mothers showed us early on. So it looks like we have our mothers to thank for all of this sweetness.

If you think your life has been a little sweeter since falling in love, it actually has been. If you’re still searching for that love, you have something to look forward to. Who wouldn’t want to have a sweeter life?

Have any thoughts on the study above? Leave your comments below or start a conversation with us on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

About the Author

Elisa Freese
Elisa Freese is a lifelong New Yorker with a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY New Paltz and a Master’s degree from New York University. She has always had a love for writing and now that school and homework are finally done forever, Elisa is going back to writing on a regular basis. In addition to writing, Elisa loves anything that has to do with traveling, shopping, social media and TV/movies. With her experiences, as well as the experiences of her friends and family, Elisa hopes to shed some light on the ins and outs of dating to the readers of Nouveau Dating.

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