A few years ago Burger King aired a couple of commercials debuting their impossible whopper.
People were shocked. It tasted just like beef.
Would it work if they knew it was plant-based before taking a bite?
Because our minds are prediction machines, if we think something will taste different, it will actually taste different.
It’s how the brain works and how we’re able to live our lives.
If you had people test a plant-based burger next to a burger made from an animal, they would probably be able to tell the difference. BUT if you had them taste one next to another one, and didn’t specify which is which it may be trickier to identify the original than you might think.
Take another example.
You have two burgers.
One from an animal, and one made from lab-grown meat taken from the cells of the animal the original burger is made from.
Would there be a taste difference?
On a cellular level, it’s the same thing.
But if we know one is grown in a lab, we’ll almost certainly notice a difference in the taste or texture.
We’ve made a prediction about what it should taste like based on our previous experience of eating a burger.
We fill in what the actual experience will taste like.
Since it’s not widely adopted at this point, most of us haven’t had meat grown from a lab.
So if we’re eating a burger, and we’re unaware of the meat source, we’ll just compare it to burgers we’ve eaten in the past. And that will help us form our understanding of how it tastes.
If we know it’s grown from a lab, we’ll begin thinking that we don’t have anything to compare it to, so it will taste different because our brains can’t make an accurate prediction of what it should taste like. Which changes how it actually tastes.
The difference exists in the story we tell ourselves, or in the prediction we make about an upcoming experience.
If we predict an experience is going to be bad, we’re less likely to see the good aspects of it.
If we’re experiencing anxiety about an upcoming event, we may not be able to see all of the good things that will come from it.
And if we think we can’t do something, we’re less likely to see all the reasons and the proof that we’re capable of it.