“As long as I live
My heart will express a humble kindness
As long as the wind blows
My kindness will gallop freely.
As long as my heart beats,
My spirit will always go
Searching for you
To influence you
To be kind to others.”
~ Steve Dudasch
Kindness can be as sweet as a piece of chocolate. It turns out you may want to use sweet foods to influence others to be kind. Having a sweet tooth may be bad for your diet but good for your disposition according to several studies from North Dakota State, Gettysburg College, and Saint Xavier University. For example, people were more likely to volunteer to help somebody after eating a piece of sweet chocolate than after eating a sour candy or a bland cracker. Participants also rated those with a sweet tooth as more agreeable and helpful than others.
Researchers hypothesize that the results may signal a link between metaphors associated with “sweetness” and our perceptions of behavior. Gettysburg professor Dr. Brian Meier explains:
“Taste is something we experience every day. Our research examined whether metaphors that link taste preferences with pro-social experiences (e.g., “she’s a sweetheart”) can be used to shed light on actual personality traits and behavior.
“It is striking that helpful and friendly people are considered ‘sweet’ because taste would seem to have little in common with personality or behavior. Yet, recent psychological theories of embodied metaphor led us to hypothesize that seemingly innocuous metaphors can be used to derive novel insights about personality and behavior. Importantly, our taste studies controlled for positive mood so the effects we found are not due to the happy or rewarding feeling one may have after eating a sweet food.”
Perhaps, chocolate at the negotiation table, or any table for that matter, may not be a bad idea.