Does chocolate taste better when shared? Absolutely, and research backs it up. Sharing an experience with another intensifies it. According to the study’s lead researcher, Erica Boothby of Yale University:
When people are paying attention to the same pleasant thing, whether the Mona Lisa or a song on the radio, our research shows that the experience is much more pleasurable.
Boothby discovered the power of sharing when participants in a study rated chocolate as tasting better when they ate it at the same time as another, rather than when they ate it by themselves. Sharing, it seems, shapes perception.
Before you run to a friend with a box of chocolates, consider this: the concept operates with and strangers as much it does with loved ones. In Boothby’s words:
When people think of shared experience, what usually comes to mind is being with close others, such as friends or family, and talking with them. We don’t realize the extent to which we are influenced by people around us whom we don’t know and aren’t even communicating with.
Connection amplifies experience. So the next time you watch a movie, go to a museum or eat a piece of chocolate, check your impulse to dive into your smartphone because you’re effectively “unsharing” a moment. As Boothby explains:
We text friends while at a party, check our Twitter feed while out to dinner, and play Sudoku while watching TV with family — without meaning to, we are unsharing experiences with the people around us. A pleasant experience that goes unshared is a missed opportunity to focus on the activity we and others are doing and give it a boost.
The old saying rings true:
The best things in life are meant to be shared.