Hugs and Kisses and Health
Hugs and kisses and health fit together neatly through some entertaining experiments by marketing professors and published in the Journal of Consumer Behavior. They conducted three experiments demonstrating that symbols of compassionate love — agape for you Greek fans — can provide effective cues to select healthier snacks, like an fruit. Symbols of sexual love — eros — prompts selection of less healthy snacks, like chocolate candy. Can you believe it? Sex might be used to sell chocolate.
Of course the subjects for these experiments were students. Adults would never respond in such a way. The investigators exposed half of the students to subtle suggestions of compassionate love, and the other half to more sexual suggestions of love. Abe Lincoln and hearts versus Marilyn Monroe and lipstick kisses. For their choice of Lincoln and Monroe, they tested a number of potential famous figures and found those two individuals provided the most extreme distinction between compassionate and sexual love.
This builds on prior work that suggests compassionate love prompts choices with long-term benefits. Erotic love yields choices for short-term gratification, it seems.
Dang. Pretty soon the food police will start trying to regulate sex, too. Will Mom and apple pie be allowed?
Click here to read the study.
The Kiss, 1930, woodcut by Ernst Ludwig Kirchner / WikiArt
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