We didn’t need science to tell us that pizza makes us happy, but a recent study conducted by DiGiorno used facial recognition and emotion-tracking software to discover exactly why.

And they found something unexpected.

Partygoers were at their happiest when they were anticipating the pizza — not when they were actually eating it. The happiness chart shows a huge surge in satisfaction when the participants could smell the pizzas baking in the oven, and another even larger spike when the pizzas came out of the oven. In fact, happiness increased nearly 20 percent when partygoers knew the pizza was ready.

This study is in support of other studies that have proved that just anticipating joyful experiences can make us happy.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.