Despite taste testings that show the best wines in the world can fall at any price point, your brain is predisposed to prefer expensive bottles. You can thank the “marketing placebo effect” for this.

The placebo effect states that we tend to experience what we expect — and a higher price creates an increased expectation for better tasting wine. We tell ourselves that more expensive wines taste better — but then they actually do.

Expensive wines taste better.
Study shows that thanks to the placebo effect, our brains think expensive wines taste better. Pexels

A recent study published online in Scientific Reports confirmed that the same wine tastes better to consumers when it boasts a higher price tag. The small European study used just 30 participants with an average age of 30, but the experiment was in-depth. Participants were placed in MRI scanners to monitor brain activity, while they were given sips of wine, as well as the wine’s price tag.

Participants were then asked to rank each wine.

The catch?

Participants were given the exact same red wine three separate times, each with varying price points of $4, $7 and $21. The wine was from the same bottle, which cost about $14.

The more expensive wines ranked higher across the board, but it wasn’t just a result of participants consciously favoring the price tags — the MRI scans actually confirmed that their brains enjoyed the taste of the expensive wines more.

Previous research has shown that higher prices for food have a similar consequence on how the brain processes taste.

You likely won’t be able to convince yourself if you’re the one doing the shopping, but consider this trick for your next home gathering.What’s a little white lie if it means your guests enjoy themselves more?

(h/t The Chicago Tribune)

(h/t Popsugar)




Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.