May 1, 2008

Cheap swill or swanky pour? It's all in your head.

Here is a delectable little tidbit from the April 28 issue of BusinessWeek:

ba17008.jpgYour Taste Buds Are In Your Wallet
Is that Rubicon Estate cabernet worth the $80 you may have paid? The answer lies within the folds of your medial prefrontal cortex. A recent study conducted by researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Business and the California Institute of Technology concludes that when people know a wine is expensive, the pleasure they get from it is enhanced in the area of the brain where such sensations are processed. In the study, published online earlier this year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, students were placed in an MRI machine and given sips of red wine--including the same one presented twice, with two different price tags: $5 (the actual bottle price) and $45 (a fiction). The subjects all said they liked the "expensive" wine better--a preference mirrored by increased activity in their prefrontal cortexes. The lesson, says Baba Shiv, an associate professor of marketing at Stanford: "There's a temptation among marketers to keep reducing prices. We're saying be careful before you embark on that strategy." -Steve Hamm

Fascinating stuff. You're brain may be telling you that the more expensive one tastes better, but the fact is the $5 vino wins the day. All the more reason to buy cheap and taste blind!
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Posted by Noël Wallace at May 1, 2008 7:07 PM
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