Conventional wisdom has it that during times of stress, many people will reach for that favorite bag of chips, or snack cake.
But, a new research from the University of South Carolina takes aim at that theory and contends that people undergoing significant change in their lives often pick unfamiliar, even healthier foods and lifestyle options.
Over the course of several studies involving several hundred people, researchers found that increasing levels of stress and change correlated with an individual’s tendency to pick unfamiliar products. These instinctive choices occurred even when the subjects expressed agreement with the notion that people choose familiar comfort foods when they are undergoing daily stresses or life changes.
Researchers also tested choices of non-food items, like deodorants and rental movies. Once again, those reporting significant change in their lives opted for more unfamiliar brands and titles.
The researchers believe this upends the notion that people tend to grasp for stability when their lives are undergoing transformation, such as the loss of a job, getting a new job, a relocation or the birth of a child. In fact, they say these are the times in people’s lives when they are open to change.