Ice cream smiley face.
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Savory science

A UD professor explains the link between ice cream and happiness

Sure, it's tasty. But can ice cream from UDairy actually

increase short-term happiness?

“That’s fair to say,” says neuroscientist and UD Prof. Philip Gable, a cookie-dough devotee who makes a point of bringing all out-of-town visitors to the Creamery. “It starts with chemistry—the way the milk fat, ice and sugar are blended enhances the taste perception. Then, your brain does a lot with this flavor profile.”

There are so many cool things about ice cream. Pun intended. 

Honors College - Honors New Student Kick-off - 09.09.22

According to Gable, a spoonful of Dirty Flirty Chai or Blissful Bing Cherry activates brain regions associated with reward, increasing neural activity in the orbitofrontal cortex.

The result is warm feelings from your frozendessert. Sprinkle in the fond memories that a cone can spark—hazy summer days spent chasing a musical truck through your childhood neighborhood— and ice cream is a prime elicitor of food-evoked nostalgia, a phenomenon linked to greater feelings of social connectedness.

“There are so many cool things about ice cream,” Gable says. “Pun intended.”

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