New Study Shows Why You Should Be Eating Popcorn with Chopsticks

The results can apply to any part of your life.

By Ethan L. Johns
June 27, 2018

Image: Ana Livecchi

Do you get sticky, tacky, salty fingers while eating your popped corn at the movies? You may be eating it wrong—in more ways than just one.

According to new research published online this week for the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, variety is—scientifically—the spice of life. The article, which combined the researchers’ observations from four studies, showed, among other things, that eating popcorn with chopsticks is much more exciting than eating it with your fingers.

Why is that, you ask?

Well, most people don’t eat popcorn using chopsticks. So when participants attempted it, they experienced somewhat of a thrill. An increased level of focus that accompanied the chopstick use, they reported, helped them to better focus on tasting the popcorn.

"This suggests chopsticks boost enjoyment because they provide an unusual first-time experience, not because they are a better way to eat popcorn," said a co-author of the study, Robert Smith.

The chopstick findings were also backed up by the other studies performed by the researchers. In a second, participants experimented with novel ways of drinking water. Whether drinking out of a martini glass or drinking water like a cat, they reported enjoying the experience more than they had when just drinking water the normal way.

This research offers us many lessons. Tired of plain old chicken breasts? Sauce it up with a lemon-cream sauce. Bored of Brussels sprouts? Mash ‘em up with plenty of parmesan.

And if you totally hate your couch, says Smith, just move it to a different room of the house. What’s old is fresh again.

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About Ethan L. Johns

Ethan is the Food News Writer at Genius Kitchen. An expert on the Parisian bistrot, he likes bitters and salted butters, and is no fan of dessert unless it's made with fruit. His hobbies include reading up on the history of borscht and attempting to roll perfect couscous by hand. Twits & Instagram @EthanLJohns