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Wine Tasting Engages Brain More Than Math, Says Yale Researcher

Wine is the drink of choice for many looking to lighten the mood on a Friday night, but get this: it may also be the activity your brain needs to level up! One Yale University neuroscientist says that wine tasting engages our brain more than any other activity.

In neuroscientist Gordon Shepherd’s new book, Neuroenology: How the Brain Creates the Taste of Wine, he argues that wine tasting stimulates your brain more than other activities. And by his estimation, that engagement is more intense than the effects seen when we’re playing music, solving tough math problems, or playing a card game with friends. All of this, according to Food and Wine

In Shepherd’s book, he writes that tasting wine “engages more of our brain than any other human behavior.”

That’s a pretty hefty calculation, but the entire book is dedicated to proving there’s some concrete to back it up. If he’s right, then every wine aficionado on the planet likely becomes immediately insufferable. Sorry, beer drinkers!

(Source: Flickr/Simon Cocks)

His logic is that while something like math or science might have us targeting a specific problem, wine tasting asks the drinker to appreciate a wider, more all-encompassing experience. This comes right down to the act of physically drinking wine. In an interview with NPR, he explained:

“You don’t just put wine in your mouth and leave it there,” he said. “You move it about and then swallow it, which is a very complex motor act.”

He also says that our brains have to “create” the taste of wine, much like the ‘ole noodle does for color. You can find more on that over at NPR, or by reading Shepherd’s book.

Nevertheless, I think any wine drinkers reading this can walk away with a small sense of pride. According to Shepherd, you’ve been the superior drinkers all along.

Rest easy at your next wine tasting!