That skip in your step, that smile on your face and even the sweetness in your distilled water could be a product of being in love. A study presented by Kai Qin Chan, a doctoral candidate of Radbound University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, explored if our five senses change when we're in love, and if so, what do emotions do to our sensory perception?
Chan said he thought of the sayings "Love is sweet" and "Honey baby" and took it a step further by seeing how love and taste interact. Research in the past has found a few other emotions or feelings are linked to senses.
- Loneliness: When we perceive loneliness, often our surroundings become colder
- Importance: When something is important to us, we believe it to be heavier than less important objects
- Jealousy: Although the study did not prove this, jealousy is associated with a bitter taste
Chan tested his theory on love's 'sweetness' on students at the National University of Singapore, and his results proved positive.
For the preliminary studies, researchers told students to write about an experience they had with romance, a neutral experience or an experience of jealousy. Next, researchers gave the students candies and asked them to rate the level of sweetness of the candy on a scale of 1-10. About $80 worth of sweets were purchased during this process, according to Chan.
The students who wrote about love noted their candies tasted sweeter than students who wrote about a neutral experience or one of jealousy. The study was also repeated with distilled water but students were told that it was a new drink in the early phases of marketing. The results were the same.
Chan believes this study is important because it finds that taste is not being processed from the tongue, but rather parts of the brain that can alter perception. The study also states that our perception of love and sweetness may have a connection to mother's breast milk and mother's love. This came from the idea that the physical experience of love and sweetness goes back to infancy when babies start drinking breast milk (or formula) and the good taste could be associated with their mother's love.