Cristy Burne

Author, editor, science writer

Sour stuff leads to riskier behaviour

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A news story for all of you who have ever dared to suck on a warhead super-sour candy… (And for those who cringe when you see your kids flock to a burst pinata full of sour lolly treats.)

Sour gummies, sour worms, sour patch thingies, sour squirms, sour rainbows, sour bears…

You name it, there’s a super-sour hyper-acidic version of your least favourite (or your kid’s favourite) lolly.

We’ve known for years that these acidic ‘treats’ are a menace for teeth enamel (acid + carbonate, anyone?), and now researchers have confirmed what dare-devil kids have known for years:

sour risktaking.jpgSour stuff increases risk-taking behaviour.

Researchers gave participants a drink of something sour, sweet, umami, salty or bitter. Straight after, they asked people to play a gambling game that involved pumping up a balloon. And there was a catch.

Money or the BANG!

The bigger the balloon, the higher the returns for the participant.

But should the balloon pop, you earned zilch.

When it came to gambling further and risking more, sour was king-kong of flavours.

Those with a sour taste in their mouth pumped the balloon up to 40 times, compared to just 20 or 30 times for other flavours.

So what does this mean in the playground?

It’s hard to say. The participants in the study were in their 20s, on average, so the results may not mean anything when it comes to kids.

But anyone who’s ever dared to suck on a super-sour warhead knows the thrill that comes with facing the pain and exploding your brain.

I’d guess that kind of adrenalin could well lead to other kinds of adrenalin-inducing behaviours…

Sweet advice for risk-takers…

If you’re about to head out lead climbing or race car driving or to a P&C meeting where they’re calling for a new president, maybe skip the margaritas. Stick to something sweet instead 🙂

 

 

Author: cristyburne

Author: http://www.cristyburne.com

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