Eating is a more enjoyable experience when high self-control individuals eat with their hands, compared to use of cutlery, according to a study published in the Journal of Retailing (February). Direct touch triggers an enhanced sensory response, making food more appetising and appealing, says Adriana Madzharov, lead researcher of the Stevens Institute of Technology, USA.
For the study, researchers asked 45 undergraduate students to examine a cube of Muenster cheese, hold it before eating, and then answer questions about the experience. Half the people in the study ate cheese with an appetizer pick, while the other half ate it by hand. People who are more aware and controlled their food intake reported that the cheese was tastier if eaten by hand. “Our results suggest that for people who regularly control their food consumption, direct touch triggers an enhanced sensory response, making it more desirable and appealing,” says Madzharov.