Researchers from Cal Tech and Stanford published an interesting study last month on the idea that people derive greater pleasure from an item if it carries a high price tag - regardless of the item's true value.
In this study, researchers asked subjects to taste five wine samples labeled in price from $5-$90 a bottle. The catch – two of the wines were presented twice. The $90 wine was presented both as a $90 bottle and a $10 bottle. Same for the $5 bottle, which was identical to the $45 bottle.
Not only did the tasters prefer the more expensive wines in both cases, but their brains registered more activity in the area of the brain that corresponds to pleasurable experiences.