American researchers have found that our wants decide how we perceive things around us.
The study by psychological scientists Emily Balcetis from New York University and David Dunning from Cornell University has appeared in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Balcetis and Dunning asked volunteers to guess how far a water bottle was from where they were sitting. Half of the participants were allowed to drink water before the experiment, while the others were given salty pretzels to eat so that they were thirsty.
It was seen that the thirsty volunteers estimated the water bottle as being closer to them than those who had had water before the experiment.
Our desire for certain objects may also result in behavioural changes.
In another test, participants threw a beanbag towards a gift card (worth either 25 dollars or 0 dollars) on the floor, winning the card if the beanbag landed on it.
The scientists discovered that the subjects tossed the beanbag much farther if the gift card was worth 0 dollars than if it was worth 25 dollars.
The beanbag was thrown much closer when people attempted to win a 25 dollar gift card, because they saw it as being nearer to them.
The results show that when we want something, we actually see it as being physically close to us.
The authors say, "these biases arise in order to encourage perceivers to engage in behaviors leading to the acquisition of the object."