Sour Promotes Risk-Taking: An Investigation into the Effect of Taste on Risk-Taking Behaviour in Humans

in Scientific Reports, Journal article


© 2018 The Author(s). Taking risks is part of everyday life. Some people actively pursue risky activities (e.g., jumping out of a plane), while others avoid any risk (e.g., people with anxiety disorders). Paradoxically, risk-taking is a primitive behaviour that may lead to a happier life by offering a sense of excitement through self-actualization. Here, we demonstrate for the first time that sour - amongst the five basic tastes (sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami) - promotes risk-taking. Based on a series of three experiments, we show that sour has the potential to modulate risk-taking behaviour across two countries (UK and Vietnam), across individual differences in risk-taking personality and styles of thinking (analytic versus intuitive). Modulating risk-taking can improve everyday life for a wide range of people.