A Mouth-Watering Prospect: Salivation to Material Reward
The term “hunger” and terms referring to its physiological correlates, notably “salivation,” are used to refer to desire for material rewards across languages and cultures. Is such usage is “merely metaphorical,” or can exposure to material reward cues evoke a salivary response? Results of an experiment show that individuals salivate to money when induced to experience a low power state but not when induced to experience a high power state. A second experiment shows that men salivate to sports cars when primed with a mating goal but not in a control condition. These findings suggest that salivary secretion is stimulated by material rewards in the presence of a highly active goal to obtain the rewards and that the motivation to acquire material rewards might more closely resemble physiological hunger than previously assumed. Implications for material addictions and decision making and directions for future research are discussed.
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