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Food porn psychology: New study reveals Instagramming your food makes it taste better

The term “food porn” is a by-product of our sensory desire to capture the delectable, and nowhere is this seen more than on Instagram. From framing to lighting, Instagram addicts exhibit a willful dedication to the act of recording their eating habits. Meanwhile, the rest of us are left scratching our heads as to why exactly someone would spend so much time taking a snap of something delicious rather than simply eating it. After all, that Sunday brunch risks going cold while you search for the best Instagram filter.

Turns out, all those people obsessed with taking snapshots of their food are actually on to something. A series of new studies have revealed the act of photographing food can actually make it taste better.

Researchers from the University of San Diego, and Saint Joseph’s University conducted the studies with over 120 participants. During the proceedings, the subjects were issued an indulgent food (in this case, red velvet cake), and assigned to either take a snap of it before eating it, or to simply consume it immediately. The same instructions were also issued for a healthier alternative in the form of a fruit salad.

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The results revealed that those who had taken a photo of the red velvet cake had perceived it to be tastier than those who refrained from doing so. On the other hand, no difference was noted for the healthy option, reports New York Magazine.

By the time they reached their concluding study, however, the researchers were able to find an emerging conjunction between perceived healthy and indulgent dishes. And again, it all stemmed from the psychological effects of food porn visuals. Basically, people who were made aware of the healthy eating habits of others, and then asked to take a photo of a healthy dish before consuming it, found it to be tastier.

Therefore, next time you want to detox but can’t bear the thought of eating a bowl of salad, just hit up Instagram and browse through some snaps of healthy dishes. Aside from inspiration, it could also trick your brain into believing that same dish is delicious.

Moreover, psychologists have repeatedly found that delaying the act of consuming food — no matter how you do it — can build your anticipation for the meal you are about to eat. And Instagramming, which requires you to perform a series of actions in order to create the perfect pic, is just one way you can achieve that. So, next time you chuckle at the person snapping a photo of their dish at a restaurant, keep in mind they may end up enjoying their meal more than you enjoy yours.