Many of us who generally maintain a healthy diet will fall off the wagon over the upcoming holidays. We’ll be offered a particularly enticing appetizer or dessert and, after some initial hesitation, indulge.
While that process inevitably produces internal conflict, it turns out we are rewarded for our discomfort. According to newly published research, the guilt we feel may make that decadent treat taste even more delicious than it otherwise would.
When succumbing to temptation, “people who are primed with guilt subsequently experience greater pleasure than people who are not,” reports a research team led by Kelly Goldsmith of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. “People lack awareness of this automatic process.”
Writing in the Journal of Marketing Research, Goldsmith and her colleagues describe six experiments that provide evidence for their thesis.
There were remarks galore about her unusually toned arms and the way she dressed to show them off. I even spotted a comment about how much of her armpits one of her outfits revealed, as if underarm exhibitionism were some sort of sexual sorcery, some aphrodisiac, the key to it all.
What else could explain his transgression? Why else would a man of such outward discipline and outsize achievement risk so much? The temptress must have been devious. The temptation must have been epic.
That was the tired tone of some of the initial coverage of, and reaction to, the affair between David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell, which had many people claiming surprise where there wasn’t cause for any, reverting to clichés that should be retired and indulging in a sexism we like to think we’ve moved past.
Broadwell has just 13 percent body fat, according to a recent measurement. Did you know that? Did you need to? It came up nonetheless. And like so much else about her — her long-ago coronation as homecoming queen, her six-minute mile — it was presented not merely as a matter of accomplishment, but as something a bit titillating, perhaps a part of the trap she laid.