People with a sweet tooth don’t want to wait

The impulsive candy fiend

By definition, if you have a sweet tooth, you’re tempted by sweet foods. But new research from the University of Chicago suggests you’ll also be the kind of person who’s tempted by any immediate gratification. Healthy young adults without substance-abuse histories were asked to rate the sweetness of various cherry Kool-Aid concentrations. Individuals who liked the sweetest concentrations also expressed a stronger preference for smaller, immediate rewards relative to larger, delayed rewards. (However, liking sweetness was not associated with the ability to exercise self-control.)

 -Weafer, J. et al., “Sweet Taste Liking Is Associated with Impulsive Behaviors in Humans,” Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience (June 2014).

Accidentally good for the earth!


The packaging on products often touts the environmental spirit behind them. But maybe marketers should think twice. In several experiments, researchers at the Yale School of Management found that when a product was described as better for the environment “as initially intended,” people were less interested in buying it, compared to when it was better for the environment “as an unintended side effect.” The same phenomenon occurred in the context of food: People expected it to be tastier if its healthiness was unintended versus intended. The phenomenon seems to be the result of people inferring that socially responsible motives lead to a lower investment in quality. Indeed, the effect was reversed when the socially responsible benefit was not part of the product itself, as in paying workers better wages.

   -Newman, G. et al., “When Going Green Backfires: How Firm Intentions Shape the Evaluation of Socially Beneficial Product Enhancements,” Journal of Consumer Research (forthcoming).

Read the full story on The Boston Globe