2 Shades of Grey

Songs from the soundtrack of your life


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Tipping points

Mike the Psych's Blog

New research from Austria suggests that playing either upbeat or sad music can increase the amount of tips serving staff receive.

Neutral piano music has no effect but “uplifting music makes people happy and the better mood someone is in the more they tip. Melancholic music nurtures people’s helping behaviour. The manipulated customers want to hep the serving staff with higher  tips than usual” says Annika Beer a psychologist at the University of Innsbruck.

The tipping effect applied particularly to older customers, perhaps because they listen to less music than younger people, or it could be that younger people have less disposable income.

The experiment was carried out in quite an upmarket restaurant where the average bill for two people was about £90 (the average tip was £3.50 more under the experimental condition).

There has been other research on tipping behaviour suggesting that waitresses who were red lipstick

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Music spices up your food, not just your life.

chef_with_giant_fork_1600_wht_5285A gastrophysicist at Oxford University has discovered that specific musical genres complement different types of food you eat at home.

Professor Charles Spence worked with Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria on involving the other senses in the pursuit of taste. He goes so far as to say it won’t be long before you get a music CD with your takeaway to complement it.

The professor involved 700 volunteers in an experiment involving takeaway food and music from several different genres. (there’s been a lot of interest in musical genres of late). These were: Pop, Classical, Indie/rock, Rock, Jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and dance

The more alerting or arousing the music, the more people appreciate spicier food. So Bruce Springsteen, Queen, Guns n’ Roses, or the Arctic Monkeys made food seem 4% spicier than listening to Nina Simone. But she was good with sushi as was Sinatra.

Chinese or Thai food? Ed Sheeran plays well to that menu as does Taylor Swift

Justin Bieber or Beyoncé are no-noes however. Listening to them just turns people off food (and some people off music)

Hip hop, dance, and R & B music had no noticeable effect on the enjoyment of any kind of food.

The research was commissioned by an on-line take-away company which was seriously thinking about providing music with the food with different soundtracks with different dishes.

There is already a heavy metal-inspired restaurant in London. Not sure what food goes well with that or whether they provide indigestion medication as a rider. 

The professor previously worked with Blumenthal on the Sound of the Sea dish where the food was accompanied by the sound of crashing waves.

He also discovered that music could enhance your drinking pleasure with Bryan Ferry going down well with champagne.

Playing classical music and jazz makes customers happier to pay for their food than when pop music is played. (Shops playing classical music can sell more expensive items as they are perceived to be of better quality).

Turning up the lighting can influence people to buy spicier food; turning it down people order cappuccino rather than espresso coffees.

It all sounds finger-licking good to me and adds to what we know about the impact of music on our day-to-day lives.