It happens fast: You crack open a bottle of your favorite drink and put it to your lips. The delicious flavor is nearly overwhelming. But a minute later, you're barely noticing the taste as you drink it.
Or you buy a new car and think it will make you smile every time you drive it for years. But a month later, that sensation is gone. Now it's just a car.
This satiation, known as hedonic adaptation, occurs for nearly everything that makes us happy. Look around and think of how much you initially enjoyed the things that surround you. Then think about how much you enjoy them today.
Wouldn't it be great to get some of that initial enjoyment back?In a series of studies soon to be published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, we found that consuming things in unconventional ways enhances enjoyment of them.This is where chopsticks come in.In one study, we asked 68 participants to eat some popcorn. While half were told to eat the normal way, the rest used chopsticks. We found that those who ate with chopsticks enjoyed the popcorn a lot more than the others, even though both groups were told to eat at the same slow pace.
This is because of something well known to psychologists: When something seems new, people pay more attention to it. And when people pay more attention to something enjoyable, they tend to enjoy it more.