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Are you getting bored with your favourite things? It's easy for it to happen; we get so used to our fave foods and experiences that they lose their old lustre.

One study says, though, that we can find joy in old things by experiencing them in new ways, such as eating popcorn with chopsticks.

The research team found that consuming everyday items like popcorn, videos, and even water in unconventional ways helped people find new enjoyment in them.

"When you eat popcorn with chopsticks, you pay more attention and you are more immersed in the experience," Robert Smith, co-author of the study and assistant professor of marketing at The Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business, told Science Daily, "It's like eating popcorn for the first time."

Smith, his co-author Ed O'Brien of the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business, and their colleagues conducted four experiments in order to see if unconventional consumption methods impact our enjoyment of things we're used to.

68 people came to a laboratory in one study, supposedly for an experiment exploring how to 'help people eat more slowly'.

Half of the group were told to eat 10 kernels of popcorn with their hands one at a time, while the others were told to eat the kernels one at a time with chopsticks.

Afterwards, those who ate the kernels with chopsticks reported enjoying the popcorn more. They also reported feeling more immersed in the experience. The participants said that eating the kernels this way intensified the taste and helped them focus on the food.

The 68 participants were then asked to repeat the experiment, and in this second trial everyone enjoyed the popcorn equally and felt equally immersed, no matter how they ate it.

In their second experiment, 300 people were asked to come up with novel ways to drink water, such as sipping it out of a martini glass or lapping it up like a cat. Those who drank water in new ways reported enjoying it more than those who drank it normally.

In the final two experiments, people were asked to watch a video three times, with the third instance being unconventional for some.

The video shown was filmed with a GoPro camera and showed a motorcycle ride.

On the third time viewing, a third of participants still watched the video the same way, while another third watched the video flipped so it was upside-down. 

The last third were told to watch using 'hand-goggles' – touching their thumbs and index fingers to create goggles with their hands and then tracking the journey by bobbing their head along with the cyclist.

Those who watched the conventional way reported less enjoyment watching the third time around, and those who watched the video upside-down didn't enjoy it very much.

Even though their viewing was unconventional, it is thought that because it was disruptive they didn't enjoy its novelty.

The group who watched with 'hand-goggles' reported the most enjoyment. When researchers told participants they could download the video, three times the amount of people in the hand-goggle group chose to download compared to the others.

"They actually thought the video was better because the hand-goggles got them to pay more attention to what they were watching than they would have otherwise. They were more immersed in the video," Smith noted.

So if you're feeling like everything is 'same old, same old' these days, maybe mix it up with some unconventional consumption methods!


Now that is impressive!