STATES CHRONICLE – A recent study developed by German scientists found the answer to a question which must have kept many wine enthusiasts awake. You are most probably wondering why an expensive wine has a better taste than a cheaper one. Researchers discovered the answer lay not in its quality or production methods, but rather in the expectations of the drinker.
Does expensive wine taste better?
The team of researchers from the University of Bonn cracked the mystery of wine’s good taste. When people drink expensive wine, they have certain expectations that the wine should taste better. These expectations affect certain regions in the brain, which then influence our sense of taste. Therefore, expensive wines are some sort of placebos.
Researchers took 15 women and 15 men and had them be part of a wine tasting session. While tasting several products, they had MRI scans performed on their brains. Before trying any kind of product, the participants were given their price. Then, they had to rate the drink on a scale from one to nine. Also, they had their mouths rinsed so that the first drink wouldn’t influence the taste of the following.
A higher price has a placebo effect
Participants found expensive wines better tasting than the cheaper ones. However, they were not asked to pay for any of the drinks. Therefore, their decision couldn’t have been directed in favor of a product they might have spent more on. Even when researchers gave the same samples to the participants, but one was presented as expensive and the other one as cheap, they chose the expensive variant.
However, this placebo effect does not work in all cases. Researchers couldn’t present extremely cheap wine as an expensive product, as the participants could tell it was of poor quality. The MRI scans showed how certain areas of the brain got activated when participants were told a higher price, and they contributed to the raise of expectations and the influence on their taste buds.
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