Excel At Life--Dedicated to the Pursuit of Excellence in Life, Relationships, Sports and Career
CBT Jealousy Depression Relationships Conflict Self-efficacy Happiness Goal-setting Motivation Wellness Sport Psych

Popular Articles

Crazy-Makers: Dealing with Passive-Aggressive People

Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

When You Have Been Betrayed

Struggling to Forgive: An Inability to Grieve

Happy Habits: 50 Suggestions

The Secret of Happiness: Let It Find You (But Make the Effort)

Excellence vs. Perfection

Depression is Not Sadness

20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem

7 Rules and 8 Methods for Responding to Passive-aggressive People

What to Do When Your Jealousy Threatens to Destroy Your Marriage

Happiness is An Attitude

Guide to How to Set Achieveable Goals

Catastrophe? Or Inconvenience?

Popular Audios

Panic Assistance

Motivational Audios

Mindfulness Training

Rational Thinking

Relaxation for Children

Loving Kindness Meditation

Self-Esteem Exercise

Lies You Were Told

Choosing Happiness

Audio Version of Article: Crazy-Makers: Passive-Aggressive People

Audio Version of Article: Why Are People Mean? Don't Take It Personally!

Audio Version of Article: Happiness Is An Attitude

All Audio Articles

PsychNotes Index

More PsychNotes: Weight Control and Body Image

February 7, 2017       

How Something Tastes is Influenced By Your Thinking
by Monica A. Frank, PhD

pieces of chocolate
For most people, the taste of good food or drink is rewarding. And as with anything that is pleasurable, we tend to make choices based on what is most rewarding. However, did you know that the specific food or drink that stimulates the pleasure centers of the brain the most is influenced by how you think about those items (van Rijn, et al., 2017)?

For example, most people have a preference for either Pepsi or Coke—the pleasure region of the brain responds when drinking their preferred beverage. However, when they are given blind taste tests, the brain's reaction shows no preference of one over the other. Therefore, our taste preferences and even the physiological reaction of the brain is affected by how we think. Flavor is enhanced by how you think of the product.

Why is this important?

Changing your thinking about foods can influence how much pleasure you derive from them. So, when people develop an interest in healthy foods they experience more reward from those foods. When people attach a negative association to a food they get less reward from that food. For instance, if you become sick after eating a favorite food, you might be less likely to find that food desirable even if it didn't cause your illness.

By deliberately creating positive associations to healthy foods you can begin to experience greater pleasure eating those foods. Doing so increases the likelihood of better food choices.

Excel At Life's audio Creating Awareness of Overeating Consequences helps change attitudes towards certain foods (and eating behavior) by focusing on the immediate negative consequences of overeating those foods. It also pairs pleasurable physical reactions with healthy food choices.

van Rijn, I., Wegman, J., Aarts, E., de Graaf, C. and Smeets, P.A.M. (2017). Health Interest Modulates Brain Reward Responses to a Perceived Low-Caloric Beverage in Females. Health Psychology, 36, 65–72. DOI:10.1037/hea0000411

Questions and Comments

All comments and questions require approval so you may not see your submission immediately.

Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank

Recent Articles

Analyzing Your Moods, Symptoms, and Events with Excel At Life's Mood Log

Why You Get Anxious When You Don't Want To

Why People Feel Grief at the Loss of an Abusive Spouse or Parent

“Are You Depressed?”: Understanding Diagnosis and Treatment

15 Coping Statements for Panic and Anxiety

Beyond Tolerating Emotions: Becoming Comfortable with Discomfort

Emotion Training: What is it and How Does it Work?

How You Can Be More Resistant to Workplace Bullying

Are You Passive Aggressive and Want to Change?

When Your Loved One Refuses Help

Newest Audios

Building Blocks Emotion Training

Hot Springs Relaxation

5 Methods to Managing Anger

Panic Assistance While Driving

Autogenic Relaxation Training

Rainbow Sandbox Mindfulness

Mindfulness Training