Buckeye Researchers Found Out How to Make Old Favorites Novel Again

If you’ve become bored of one of your favorite things, researchers at the Ohio State University might have some suggestions on how to introduce some novelty back into your favorite things. What they found was that whatever the activity or object was—popcorn, videos, even water—when consumed in an unconventional way, the consumer enjoyed them more.

The study suggested that when a subject consumed something via an unconventional method they were more easily able to focus on what it was that they loved about it in the first place. This phenomenon has already been employed in “pitch black” restaurants. These popular eateries serve dinner in the dark.

The researchers conducted multiple experiments. In a study of 68 participants, subjects came to a lab thinking they were there for a study on how to help people eat more slowly. Some of the subjects ate 10 pieces of popcorn using just hands; the others ate the pieces with chopsticks. Subjects then rated their experience in a variety of ways. Some of the measures were overall enjoyment, how much flavor the popcorn had and how much fun they had eating it. Participants using the chopsticks later said they enjoyed eating the popcorn more than the subjects who used their hands.

The research was published online at the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.