Sour Tastes Make You Risk-taking

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, yes, and drink all of them. Then you’re ready for an adventure.

Scientists at the Sussex Computer Human Interaction (SCHI) Lab say they have found for the first time empirical evidence that sour tastes lead to more risk-taking behaviour in a paper published in Scientific Reports today (7 June).

This finding is helpful to people in negative mood, such as those from anxiety disorders or depression, who might not leave the house or talk to any stranger. Add more sour tastes in the diet can make risk-adverse people willing to take more risks.

For people in professions where risk-taking could result in serious repercussions, such as airline pilots, it’s recommended to reduce the amount of sour in the daily diet.

The study involved 168 participants from the UK and Vietnam who were given a 20ml solution representing one of the five main taste groups (bitter, salty, sour sweet and umami) and a neutral control of mineral water.

They were then asked to take part in the standardized Balloon Analogue Ris  to fill up a balloon with air.

On average, participants who drank citric acid pumped the balloons at a significantly higher frequency than with any other taste; more than 39% more than sweet (sucrose), 20.50% more than bitter (caffeine), 16.03% more than salty (sodium chloride), and 40.29% more than umami (monosodium glutamate or MSG).

The study also found that sour promotes risk-taking behaviour regardless of an individual’s own level of risk-taking and style of thinking with the sour effect effective for both intuitive and analytical thinkers.



* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.