If you have drunk a really delicious cup of hot chocolate lately, there is a very good chance it was served in a white or orange cup. This is because, according to researchers, hot chocolate actually tastes better to people when served in certain colored cups. No, it is not different hot chocolate. It’s just in a different-colored cup, which makes people think it’s better. Does that sound weird? Well. Sorry, because it’s just true. Scientists said so.

This study was published in something called The Journal of Sensory Studies, which sounds like exactly the kind of bullshit place you’d expect to go out and ask 57 people which hot chocolate tastes better in which color cup. But in truth, this sort of research actually does serve a purpose, which is to alert people to how their brains — and thus food advertisers and others — can trick them into thinking food is better or worse than it is. (For instance, people think stuff in pink containers is sweeter. Which partly explains why, as a child, you had a bizarre desire to chug Mr. Bubble.) And the wider, possibly more interesting aspect of The Great Hot Chocolate In Colored Cups Experiment is how what we perceive with one sense can influence how we experience another, entirely different sense. Wow. Just thinking about this trippy shit makes me want to get stoned — but only out of an orange bong.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!