Natural Rationality | decision-making in the economy of nature


High price makes wine taste better

We already know that Pepsi labels make Pepsi taste better; now it seems that costly wine bottles their content taste better....

Rangel used functional magnetic resonance imaging to observe the brains of 20 people as they were given the same Cabernet Sauvignon and told it cost anything from £2.50 to £45 a bottle. The subjects were asked to describe how pleasurable the wine was to drink, and most described the “higher-priced” wine as much more enjoyable.

The researchers observed changes in a part of the brain known as the medial orbito-frontal cortex, which plays a central role in many types of pleasure. They found that the cortex became more activated by the “expensive” wines than by the cheaper ones. This, said Rangel, showed that the increase in pleasure was real, even though the products were identical.