The advertising world has been banking on this scientific discovery for decades – sex sells.
A professor of marketing at the Kellogg School at Northwestern, David Gal, has published a paper in The Journal of Consumer Research, called “A Mouthwatering Prospect: Salivation to Material Reward.” Gal set out to determine whether a desire for material goods would be on the same physiological plane with physical needs. Turns out they are indeed on the same plane and cause the same reaction – drool.
As part of his research, Gal used two groups of undergraduate males. He told one group to imagine what they would do to “win a date” with a dream girl. The other group was told to think about getting a haircut. With these images fresh in their heads, both groups were shown pictures of sports cars. The group that had been thinking about women salivated more. (How was the saliva gathered, you may be asking? The men had rolls of cotton swabs in their mouths, which Gal weighed after the experiment to determine how much saliva they absorbed.)
Gal concluded that, “All objects of desire, whether biological or non- biological, activate the same general reward system in the brain. Salivation might merely be the consequence of the activation of this general reward system.”