Washington: A new study has revealed that people who share experiences with another person rate those experiences as more pleasant or unpleasant than those who undergo the experience on their own.
In the study, subjects shared chocolate with someone they thought was another study participant (in fact, it was a researcher who always played the same role). In each case, they were given two pieces of chocolate.
One was eaten at the same time that the fake participant also ate a piece, while the other was eaten while the researcher pretended to work on another task. Even though the chocolate was actually from the same bar, subjects rated it as tastier and more enjoyable when someone else was eating it, too.
Psychological scientist and lead researcher Erica Boothby of Yale University said that people often think that what matters in social life is being together with others, but the study has found it also really matters what those people are doing.
Boothby added that when people are paying attention to the same pleasant thing, whether the Mona Lisa or a song on the radio, our research shows that the experience is much more pleasurable. And the reverse is true of unpleasant experiences - not sharing them makes them more pleasurable, while sharing them makes them worse.
The study was published in the Psychological Science.