Lead researcher Kelly Goldsmith of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Chicago said the study findings show "experiencing the emotion of guilt can increase pleasure," Time magazine reported
In one of the study's experiments, 103 participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups. In the group primed to feel more guilt, participants were asked to unscramble sentences with words related to guilt to cognitively activate the feeling. The second group unscrambled sentences without guilt-related words.
All were then given cups of chocolate candies and were asked to rate them at that moment and again three days later.
The study, published in the Journal of Marketing Research, found participants primed with guilt reported enjoying the chocolate much more than those in the neutral group.