Getting Touchy About the Taste of Coffee

Those flimsy cups brew trouble for some drinkers.

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When it comes to drinks, style and substance may be hard to separate for many of us. A new study in the Journal of Consumer Research finds that the flimsy, disposable cup that you get from Starbucks or McDonald's makes coffee or other drinks taste worse—at least, that's what your brain tells you.

Aradhna Krishna of the University of Michigan and Maureen Morrin of Rutgers University write in Does Touch Affect Taste? The Perceptual Transfer of Product Container Haptic Cues about how they classified their test subjects into those who are most sensitive to touch when buying a product and those who are not as touchy-feely. Surprisingly, it was the second group that reacted most negatively to drinks served in flimsy containers. The researchers speculated that since touch-sensitive participants are more aware of how an object feels, they can more easily separate the feeling of a drink's container from how the drink actually tastes.

brain health
food and drink