Do you ever wonder why food seems to taste better when shared with other people? Or why having your teeth pulled at the nice dentist’s clinic makes the whole ordeal more bearable? Don’t worry; you’re not imagining things. According to a new study published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, people who have good intentions can make you feel less pain and more pleasure.

Researchers conducted three experiments to find out how good intentions could affect others. In the first experiment, they set up three different situations for the participants, who would receive mild electroshocks. Some of the participants were made to believe they were being shocked without their partners awareness. Others believed that they were being shocked on purpose. Meanwhile, the third group thought that they were being shocked only because their partners were trying to help them win money. The results? Those in the last group felt the least pain.

The second experiment involved pleasure. Participants were made to sit in a chair with a massage pad that was switched on and off by either a computer or a person. While both massages were identical, the volunteers felt more pleasure when a real person was administering the massage.

In the third experiment, researchers wanted to find out if food would taste better with the help of good intentions. Participants were given a pack of candy with a note attached to it which read either "I picked this just for you. Hope it makes you happy” or "Whatever. I just don't care. I just picked it randomly." Not surprisingly, those who were given the package with a nicer note seemed to find their candy more delicious.

Suffice to say, one should never underestimate the power of good intentions. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of many good intentions in your life. Perhaps it’s time you return the favor.


For more studies on dealing with pain, check these out:

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Are you looking for ways to thank others for the good things that happened to you because of them? Here are some ideas:


(Photo by Kenneth B. Moore via Flickr Creative Commons)

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