Sunday, 30 April 2017

Saving the best for last

Heaps of cheese, and double the pepperoni. This is how I like to finish a pizza: with a mouthful I'd be embarrassed to be seen with in polite company. Hell, this is how I like to finish all of my food: on a high, having saved the best for last.

Not everyone feels this way. Some people I know are happy to end a meal with the dregs: a dry bit of crust, a piece of carrot, the last of the rice with none of the sauce or chicken.

Fine, you might think: horses for courses. But now science says my approach is the better one.

In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari summarises some experiments conducted by the Nobel-prizewinning economist Daniel Kahneman into people's recall of their experiences, which concluded that:

Every time the narrating self evaluates our experiences, it discounts their duration and adopts the "peak-end rule" - it remembers only the peak moment and the end moment, and assesses the whole experience according to their average.

So if you have take a great big bite of the teriyaki salmon at the start of the meal but then end with the seaweed, you're going to remember the meal as merely decent. Whereas, if you have that great big bite at the start and then cap the experience with an embarrassment-inducing mouthful at the end, you're going to remember the occasion as a glorious, succulent, flavoursome feast.

Save the best for last, peeps.

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