Beer designed by Christian Jeria for the Noun Project

Beer designed by Christian Jeria for the Noun Project

In a new post by Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, she illustrates how rituals go even deeper than previously thought. We all know they can help to make changes stick (think of “hazing” rituals, like Google’s silly hats on new members that makes previously-outsiders feel like part of the team), but they also make us enjoy the ritual, and subsequent subject of, even more.

In one study, participants tasted chocolate, either ritualistically (i.e., with the instruction to break the bar in half without unwrapping it, unwrap half the bar and eat it, and then unwrap the other half and eat it), or as they normally would.  Those who performed the ritual reported finding the chocolate more flavorful and enjoying it more.  They also took more time to savor it, and were willing to pay nearly twice as much for more of it.
This may be old news to marketing companies though. Think about how you might drink one specific brand of beer very differently than others:
Then there’s Guinness – the best-selling drink in Ireland and a global powerhouse available in 100 countries, with nearly two billion Guinness pints consumed annually.  And it all starts with the proper Guinness pour – at an angle, allowing it to settle for two minutes when only three-quarters of the way full, then gently topping off.  Guinness fans will fervently swear that a proper pour elevates the stout to heavenly heights and will riot when the pour is botched.
But now that you know as well, adapting this to your own workplace’s culture, product, or even if you’re trying to make a new habit for yourself stick.
Read the rest of Dr. Halvorson’s article here.
  • Tony Mendoza

    This is a simple but great article. I worked in drug treatment for a while and the ritual of getting high was just as addictive as the actual drug. Though this is a negative example, it does support the principal concept. Thank you Sasha for sharing.

  • clover

    I love the principle behind this, and am thinking about how I can create pleasurable rituals around less-pleasurable (but necessary) tasks. And if there is any follow-up research needed involving Guinness or chocolate consumption, I would be willing to volunteer.

  • chill

    Mary Jane releases plenty of serotonin. Perfect.

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