Watching Sad Movies Makes a Person Eat More

May 18, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. romantic comedy / roʊˈmæn tɪk ˈkɒmədi/ (n.) – a film genre that is funny and has a happy love story
Example: I love watching romantic comedy movies.

2. tragedy / ˈtrædʒədi/ (n.) – a play, movie, television show, or other narrative works that cause sadness; often involves death of a character
Example: Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy.

3. indulge / ɪnˈdʌldʒ / (v.) – to give in or allow oneself to satisfy a desire
Example: She often indulges in cakes when she is sad.

4. euphoria /juːˈfɔːrɪə/ (n.) – the state or condition of being very happy
Example: He was filled with euphoria after receiving many gifts.

5. taste bud / teɪst bʌd / (n.) – a part of the tongue that helps a person taste things
Example: The chef has strong taste buds.


Read the text below.
A study finds that watching sad movies can make a person eat more as compared with watching a romantic comedy.

Researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab gathered some office workers and divided them into two groups. One group was assigned to watch a tragedy love story while the other was asked to watch a romantic comedy. All participants were given popcorn.

Results showed that the participants from the first group ate 28% more popcorn than those from the second group. Professor Brian Wansink thinks that this result may be because sad or depressed people want to instantly feel better. Therefore, they indulge in snacks to give them an immediate feeling of euphoria. On the other hand, happy people think long term and turn to more nutritional comfort food.

According to research, this phenomenon can be explained by looking into the functions of the hypothalamus. This part of the brain influences both a person’s appetite and mood. The hormones that the hypothalamus produces also control thirst, hunger, and sleep.

Other studies have also found a relationship between food and a person’s emotion. A study from the Archives of Internal Medicine found that sad people tend to eat more chocolates. And as people become more depressed, the amount of chocolates they eat increases.

Another study from the University of Wurzburg, Germany, suggests that emotions may have an effect on a person’s taste buds. Its results revealed that emotional people eat more because they can better taste the food’s flavor, be it sweet, sour, or bitter. Being emotional also reduces a person’s ability to taste fat from the food he or she eats.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that sad people eat more than happy people? Why?
·         What kinds of food do you usually eat when you are sad? Why do you eat it?

Discussion B

·         Aside from eating, how else can people cope with sadness?
·         Is depression a common problem in Japan? Why is that so?

May 18, 2015