Why do we like the things we like?

Everyone you meet is different and unique in their own way. Everyone has those things that they like and dislike and things they enjoy doing and things they despise doing, but why do some people enjoy certain things more than others?

According to Paul Bloom, most pleasures are developed from origins, not experience. People enjoy most things for obvious reasons. Sugary candy and salty snacks, for example, some people have a sweet tooth while others prefer a more pungent taste.

Image result for sweet vs salty

(Image Source)

Paul describes this as the adaptationist theory of pleasure. Those pleases that I described earlier, the ones developed from origins, are common throughout all individuals. If you compared all the different types of communities, you would notice a common ground between them.

People find pleasures in things they do because they have qualities of things they already enjoy. For example, someone who enjoys crossword puzzles enjoys doing them because they find pleasure in philosophical activities.

People can also find pleasure in things they are exposed to. For example, I personally used to hate country and rap music but, my friends from home loved both genres. After being exposed to both types of music for an extended period of time, I now enjoy listening to them.


5 thoughts on “Why do we like the things we like?

  1. Kaitlyn A Kaminski


    I found this article to be really insightful because my eating habits are very peculiar. I do not think it has to do with things I’ve been exposed to because my mom and sisters like squash for an example and I do not, I love bleu cheese-they do not. I honestly don’t know where my taste buds came from, but I do know they change all the time. I used to hate bleu cheese, but now I eat it on anything. I think it’s so crazy how I could not like anything years ago and suddenly have a new love of it years later. I don’t think things are genetic because I have yet to find a food in my family everyone loves (maybe canolis?). I also think I can force myself to like something and get an acquired taste. Here’s an article that can add to your “why we like the things we like”-http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/publications/observer/2010/october-10/why-we-like-what-we-like.html

  2. Emily Fiacco Tuite

    Your article reminds me a lot of the conversation I had with a friend of mine before I left for college. I am a very picky eater while my friend is not and she tries to get me to eat new food all of the time. Most of the time I end up hating whatever she gives me. It does not always have to be food with my friend either, we have different tastes in music and clothes as well. I found an article that I think will be interesting for you because it has to do with why we love certain food and hate other types of food.


  3. Emma G Schadler

    Huh, interesting. I suppose most aspects of our lives can be traced back to our upbringing, or ‘origin,’ just like how different cultures like different things, like in class when we discussed the possible confounding variable for the chocolate study being cultural influence. Another culture I thought of, since your picture was of food, is the Asian and Indian cultures that enjoy spicy foodstuff. Personally, I hate sweet things like icing and hard sugar candies, but love very spicy things like peppers and hot sauce! I think a good explanation of my taste preferences is the ‘globalization effect,’ which I found referenced in this article. Our country is such a melting pot of cultures that people from America have the chance to eat food that originated from other parts of the world whenever they want and can develop a taste for those foods. Similarly, American fast food and European food has been making its way over to Asia for the past few decades. It will be interesting to see in the coming years how culture develops around the world.

  4. Summer A Carson

    Your blog post reminds me of a time in my life. For example, one day I was chatting with my mom and she told me that when she was pregnant with me she always craved donuts. Not only do I love donuts but I love all sweets and have a major sweet tooth. My mom also told me that when she was pregnant with my brother she craved watermelon and now my brother hates anything sweet. I feel a correlation like this relates to the adaptionist theory of pleasure, which I did not even knew exist until I read your blog, so thanks for sharing!

  5. Hannah Marni Stern

    I always stumble upon this question, so I’m glad you answered it! I have also noticed that I also tend to like the things that the people around me like. For example, my best friend has a passion for entrepreneurship so I tend to look at the world with a more entrepreneurial perspective just from liking him. I have also wondered about what makes people like certain tastes, which you didn’t really touch on in detail but I would be curious to look into. What makes each person have such variations in taste buds? For example, I HATE cilantro, and someone told me that its genetic. I found this article (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/24/why-does-cilantro-taste-bad-like-soap_n_7653808.html) which says that a gene called OR6A2 causes about 4-14% of the population to connect the taste of cilantro with the smell of soap due to a chemical found in both.

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