Good intentions bring psychological benefits

Good intentions can bring psychological benefits, a new study has found. According to the research, which is to be published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, food cooked with love really is more enjoyable to eat, while the pain of a medical treatment can be eased thanks to a nurse's care.

Kurt Gray, an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland - which has roots stretching back to 1856 - explained the way in which a person reads another's intentions can alter their own physical experiences.

Mr Gray claimed the investigation as a "vindication for the power of good" and stated: "The results confirm that good intentions - even misguided ones - can sooth pain, increase pleasure and make things taste better."

He explained the findings should result in medical personnel improving their social skills, while those in a relationship may make more of an effort to display affection towards their partner.

Dr Ray Owen, a Chartered Psychologist based in Hereford, commented: "Training healthcare professionals to convey empathy is a central part of current NHS communication skills training, for example in cancer care.

"Not only does communicating empathy appear to improve patient confidence and satisfaction, but there is some data indicating that the patents of more empathic doctors can have better physical outcomes, [for instance] improved blood glucose control in people with diabetes."