143 Bring a Friend Along

Based on research by Boothby, Erica, Clark, Margaret, & Bargh, John (2014), written by Mara Rowcliffe, BS.

Did you know that sharing an experience with someone else influences your perception of the event?

Yale University psychologists Margaret Clark and John Bargh and doctoral student Erica Boothby conducted two studies to assess the impact of shared experiences.  In their first study, participants tasted what was deemed as “pleasant” chocolate.  Participants considered the chocolate to be more enjoyable and flavorful when they tasted it at the same time as another participant compared to when they tried the chocolate with another participant present but engaging in another activity.  These results indicated that shared experiences are intensified compared with unshared experiences.

In their second study the researchers wanted to find out whether this finding applied to unpleasant experiences.  Participants tasted bitter chocolate and perceived it to be less likeable when another person tried it with them.  Therefore, if an experience is positive or negative it is intensified when shared with someone else.

When dealing with unpleasant events, handling things alone may make them more tolerable.  When anticipating happy events and activities you like, to enhance the experience, invite a friend along!


Boothby, E. J., Clark, M. S., & Bargh, J. A. (2014). Shared experiences are amplified. Psychological science, Retrieved 1/13/15 DOI: 0956797614551162.

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