The origins of pleasure

Why do we like an original painting better than a forgery? Psychologist Paul Bloom argues that human beings are essentialists — that our beliefs about the history of an object change how we experience it, not simply as an illusion, but as a deep feature of what pleasure (and pain) is.

One interesting thing is the same wine from a more expensive bottle improves the taste. In college, my first experiment was looking at which soft drink people liked best: Coke, Pepsi, or Sam’s Choice. In a lot of cases, people would say they thought the drink was either Coke or Pepsi and so it was the one they liked best. In many of those cases it was actually Sam’s Choice. None stated they liked the cheap Sam’s Choice best. So I can buy the perceived expensiveness of something does help me like it better.

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