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Research Shows That Expensive Items Bring More Pleasure

Will a $90 Bottle of Wine Make You Happier?

If we were enjoying a nice meal together and I told you that the wine cost $90, would you think it tastes better than if I had told you it was $10? According to a new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, you would.

By using a new brain-scanning technology, researchers from the California Institute of Technology and Stanford's business school discovered that when drinking wine, the amount of pleasantness experienced was linked directly to the price. This was repeatedly found true, even though it was the same wine — Cabernet Sauvignon — for each test. They discovered that the higher the price, the higher the levels of blood and oxygen in the pleasure part of the brain.

I find the whole study very interesting — I hope it doesn't lead to a surge of higher priced goods just because marketers think we'll enjoy them more — but what do you think?


Join The Conversation
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
I think people just want to feel fancy, like pretty little princesses. :) I don't know anything about wine so when I pick up a bottle for a gift, I just get whatever the store has in the $50 range. Personally, I don't really like the taste of wine or champagne, so I don't care what it costs as long as it tastes better.
Random2 Random2 9 years
The best wine I've ever had was homemade apple wine, made by a family friend who keeps the recipe under lock and key and won't share it with anyone. But if I were to buy wine, my favorite is a red wine called Relax, and it's about $12.
leahlarocco leahlarocco 9 years
If I drink it all at once ;)
Brown_Eyes Brown_Eyes 9 years
My boyfriends dad actually tested us with this one night at dinner. He had a REALLY nice french import syrah and a locally produced wine that was much the same. He didn't tell us which wine was which and asked our opinions of each. Without knowing which wine was the $20 local and which was the $100 import bottle, everyone complimented both, but as soon as they knew, the compliments and requests for second glasses on the more expensive bottle quickly went up. It was really interesting to see.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
You pretty much can't Bluebell...since they mark it up considerably. If we're going to a nice restaurant...a lot of times we bring our bottles of wine (stuff I KNOW I like) and pay a corking fee. It's usually less expensive than what they're selling (and marking up). Unless you know the restaurant has a reputable wine list or Sommelier (a trained wine professional), IMO, it's not worth it to buy wine there. That being said...a good rule of thumb is to NOT bring the wine being sold at the restaurant. That's just bad form :) I live in Sonoma County, California. There's plenty of good, inexpensive wine around here. My collection is full of $5-10 bottles that we drink on a regular basis, and love every bit of it. I do have more expensive bottles, but I save those for the special occasions. And sometimes they don't taste any different from the less expensive bottles!
bluebellknoll bluebellknoll 9 years
Where in the heck can you order a bottle of wine in a restaurant for $10???
ms_dior_cherie ms_dior_cherie 9 years
when it comes to wine, price doesn't matter. its all about taste. I am totally in love with a $23 bottle of Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio and am willing to pay any price for it. I used o like Ecco Domanni (sp) Pinot Grigio which was around 11 bucks a bottle. I have had a bottle before that was near $60 bucks and it was awful. so for me, its about taste not price.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i think that it's mostly psychological - however there are some more expensive wines that are better which could therefore make you happier. to be honest - i'm happy with my $10 bottles...but that's just me
Mel475 Mel475 9 years
Something to remember to is there is a tremendous markup on wine in restaurants so if it's going for $10 in a restaurant, it's probably not a $10 wine on a store shelf - it's a lot less expensive. So like taraevans94 and ashcwebb said, the $20 to $50 range is usually a good one as those wines are probably going to be the $10 to $30 wines in stores.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
No thanks...
Jinx Jinx 9 years
No, wine doesn't make me happy. Shows what the power of suggestion can do, or the power of price.. :? lol
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I love wine :) And I agree with what taraevans94 said. 9 times out of 10 a $10 botle of wine at a resturant is going to taste like crap. If I buy wine at a liquorstore, somtimes I do luck out and find something I liek for $12 but that is rare. I'd say even $20-$40 is a good price range and you are guarenteed to like it.
taraevans94 taraevans94 9 years
9 times out of 10, a bottle of wine that is only going for $10, especially at a restaurant, is going to taste like crap. I always stay within the $30-$50 range. If you go under $30, many times it doesn't taste that great.
Mel475 Mel475 9 years
I love wine (I'm from the Napa Valley) but perhaps because I've had expensive wine that wasn't fantastic, the dollar value doesn't mean a lot to me anymore. I've had expensive wines that were great but I've also had inexpensive brands that were just as good. I can see how some people think that more money means better but we do that with lots of things - cars, clothes, shoes, technology and we all know that money doesn't always equal quality. That said, I do have my fave expensive wines for special occasions and I do have my fave inexpensive (hate the word cheap) wines for every day occasions. Just depends on what I'm in the mood for!
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
Not a big wine fan, so this post kind of eludes me. Would rather have "the girls" over for a potluck, serve a pitcher of sweet tea and play board games! It's all about the company for me! :)
jesssa jesssa 9 years
doesn't surprise me at all. i work at a restaurant which boasts one of the most impressive wine selections in the world and we have a prominent wine tower showcase housing all of our bottles. but the first thing people say with their noses pressed against the glass of it is 'where's the expensive stuff?'
4BYRDS 4BYRDS 9 years
I buy wine sometimes because of the labels haute. It's fun to see what funky labels they're coming out with now.
haute77 haute77 9 years
This study is interesting. I also read somewhere that women tend to judge and buy wines according to how the label looks. I know that sounds absurd, but judging by how the labels look now versus how they used to look, it sure seems like they're trying to lure more females with cutesy, bold colors. Back to your comment. I tend to favor mid to expensive wines for red because a lot of the time it does taste better and there's less room for error. Not to say they're aren't many good cheap wines. I just find that if you find the ones you like, it's easier to just pay the money for it. White wines however, I tend to get cheap to midrange since it's usually never really there to enjoy.
nycscoop nycscoop 9 years
Probably wouldn't like either. Not a big wine fan. :-(
Nope! All wine tastes equally horrible. Cristal was not worth the $300 a bottle, since it tastes just as bad as the $15 bottle you can buy at Albertson's.
emalove emalove 9 years
The riesling wine that I LOVE costs about $16...I'm perfectly content with that.
tee0206 tee0206 9 years
I'm really picky about wine, and I probably don't have the most, uh, sophisticated and experienced taste. My favorite is a bottle of Castillo de Monseran's Garnacha, which costs less than $10. But agreed with the above: maybe if I wasn't paying!
julieulie julieulie 9 years
Depends who is paying. My dollar? Regardless of actual taste, I'd be a lot happier with the $10 wine.
AmberHoney AmberHoney 9 years
It'd make me happy if I could get in on sale for $10.00. Other than that NO.
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