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It’s a Matter of Taste

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? Your favorite kind of pizza? Your favorite kind of ice cream? Your favorite fruit?

Everyone has favorites, but not everyone’s favorites are the same. Have you ever wondered why that is?

Why everyone’s favorite tastes are different

Chocolate tastes the same in everyone’s mouth, right? The same is true with apples, celery, popcorn, and steak. So why do some people like chocolate more than others? And why do some people like celery, but other people think it is disgusting and gross?

The answer to these questions is the brain. Everyone has a brain with the very same parts. But the thoughts and responses of everyone’s brains are NOT the same. Why are they different? They are different because of:

  • Cultural differences EXAMPLE: some people groups like spicier foods than others
  • Exposure—some people are not exposed to certain foods until they have already developed preferences
  • Sensitivity—some people are more sensitive to some tastes than others EXAMPLE: some people like the taste of lemons but others start puckering up when the smell them
  • We’re all just different—having favorites is part of what makes each of us…us

Most popular favorites

While everyone has their own favorites, it is not uncommon for many people to have the same favorites. Wait! That is exactly the opposite of what we just said, isn’t it? Well, sort of…but not really.

Everyone has their own favorite tastes, but because there are more people than there are foods, it is only natural that apples are going to be more than one person’s favorite fruit and that more than a few people prefer popcorn over potato chips.

But what about you, your family, and your friends? How many favorites do you share?

Let’s find out!

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Facts for Kids

Here is what you need:

Twenty people—you don’t have to have them in the same place at the same time. You can even use social media to do this experiment

The following list of questions:

  • What is your favorite fruit?
  • What is your favorite vegetable?
  • What is your favorite breakfast cereal?
  • What is your favorite meat?
  • What is your favorite fast-food?
  • What is your favorite thing to drink
  • Pen and paper

Here is what you do:

Ask twenty people each of the questions above and record their answers on paper

Compare their answers and compile the results—how similar are the tastes of the twenty people? How different are they?

Let’s do this again

Repeat the experiment—this time with a different twist…

Here is what you need:

Twenty people—they can be the same twenty people (or not)

The following list of questions: NOTE—these are the ONLY choices they get if they don’t like any of them at all, ask them to choose the one they dislike the least

  • Which do you like best: Cheerios, Bran Flakes, or Fruit Loops
  • Which do you like best: Cheese pizza, Sausage pizza, or Supreme pizza
  • Which do you like best: Popcorn, BBQ chips, Plain chips
  • Which do you like best: Steak, Chicken, Bacon
  • Which do you like best: Ice cream, Pumpkin pie, Cheesecake
  • Which do you like best: Asparagus, Broccoli, Potatoes

Here is what you do:

Ask twenty people each of the questions above and record their answers on paper

  • Compare their answers and compile the results
  • Was there a definite favorite in each category?
  • Was there a food no one liked?
  • Which food got the most votes overall?

What does this tell you about how people’s tastes?

How do they compare with your tastes?