For tastier food, try a dash of workplace injustice

May 14, 2013

(Phys.org) —A new UBC study from the Sauder School of Business reveals that experiencing unfair treatment at work can sharpen the taste buds, providing evidence that stress has a physiological effect on people.

"Our perception of the world is altered by stress – and we show how significant the mistreatment of our fellow humans impacts us, physiologically," says lead author and UBC Sauder School of Business Professor Daniel Skarlicki. "This is just a glimpse into the kinds of physical effects workplace stress has on us. Managers really need to foster fair environments for employees."

The study, to be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, involved a number of experiments. The first had participants recalling fair or unfair workplace events, followed by a test in which they rated how strong a food tasted.

Those who recounted a situation of injustice rated the taste as much as 10 per cent stronger compared to those who recounted an act of fairness.

In a second experiment, participants watched scenes from the UK version of the TV show The Office involving clearly unjust and neutral situations. Participants who viewed the unjust treatment again reported food tasting as much as 10 per cent stronger.

The authors found that experiencing or observing injustice led to feelings of moral , which subsequently related to a stronger .

"For example, if patrons see a chef abusing staff, a la Gordon Ramsey, their senses will become heightened, and their food will taste more intense," says Skarlicki. "I'm not recommending abuse as a form of seasoning, of course – but this study shows just how strongly workplace abuse affects us."

The paper is titled "Does injustice affect your sense of taste and smell? The mediating role of moral disgust."

Explore further: Can new understanding avert tragedy?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Seeing' the flavor of foods

Apr 11, 2013

The eyes sometimes have it, beating out the tongue, nose and brain in the emotional and biochemical balloting that determines the taste and allure of food, a scientist said here today. Speaking at the 245th National Meeting ...

Recommended for you

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

2 hours ago

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

14 hours ago

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Crowd-sourcing Britain's Bronze Age

A new joint project by the British Museum and the UCL Institute of Archaeology is seeking online contributions from members of the public to enhance a major British Bronze Age archive and artefact collection.

Roman dig 'transforms understanding' of ancient port

(Phys.org) —Researchers from the universities of Cambridge and Southampton have discovered a new section of the boundary wall of the ancient Roman port of Ostia, proving the city was much larger than previously ...

Cosmologists weigh cosmic filaments and voids

(Phys.org) —Cosmologists have established that much of the stuff of the universe is made of dark matter, a mysterious, invisible substance that can't be directly detected but which exerts a gravitational ...