Food psychology research - influence of our senses on the taste and smell of food

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by Aditya77, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. Aditya77

    Aditya77

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    Hello,

    A small introduction: I'm an applied psychologist from India. One of the applications I came across is in a personally loved area of research. Cross-modal correspondences. This area is about how the information coming from one sense affects the perception from another sense.

    In one of my articles, I looked at the sense of smell and taste in the dining experience. This is how sound, touch, and sight affects the taste of food.

    Here is the article: Food psychology research

    if you are interested in the original research, the links are provided.
    Never till I did this I realized how deep the holistic experience of eating food and drinking is! I'm sure many of you have valuable insights on how people perceive the food they get.
     
  2. 21TonyK

    21TonyK

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    Its an interesting subject. You might like to research the Italian Futurists and try finding some of Professor Charles Spence's research.

    Lots of info in his book "Gastrophysics" I do however draw the line at furry cutlery!
     
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  3. Aditya77

    Aditya77

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    Ah yes, it is Prof. Charles Spence's research that I got into. He is a genius.

    Should read Gastrophysics. Should read it. Furry Cutlery sounds hilarious. Gotta read. Thanks.
     
  4. 21TonyK

    21TonyK

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    I started researching and reading up as I work with children with multiple and severe learning difficulties. They may also have physical disabilities, sight, hearing etc Because many cannot communicate its difficult to known how they experience food. The only real guide we have is if they want more!

    I have moved from the typical school multi-coloured plates to plain white so the food is clearly identified against its background. I use a number of key flavours across the whole menu, sweet, sharp, salty. We also use low tempo background music and limit natural light in the dining hall. Food is as highly coloured as possible, tomato sauces are reduced down and coloured with roasted red pepper, beta carotene is used to make yellows really yellow. Green veg is blanched and refreshed so it is bright green.

    I also specified very heavy cutlery and clear polycarbonate beakers for drinks which (although only water) are brightly coloured.

    Also, we allow personalisation of food. Each meal will have several optional accompaniments which the children choose themselves. Maybe by pointing or just taking what they want. It then becomes their meal.

    By playing around meal uptake has gone from 65%-85% in a couple of years.
     
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  5. drirene

    drirene

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    Good topic! Thank you Aditya.
    And Tony, thank you too. I borrowed your highly-colored food idea and made it opposite. The hypothesis was that whitish food would lead to a 15% reduction in eating. Alas, it didn't work. Cheers! o_O
     
  6. Aditya77

    Aditya77

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    This is excellent. Thanks for sharing such an insightful application and kudos to you for doing this. I'm certainly going to revisit the specifics you have mentioned to generate hypotheses. :)
     
  7. ezCater

    ezCater

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    Really cool stuff Aditya! Really interesting to think about the synestesic features of tasting food that a lot of people don't think about - the correlation between color and sweetness.

    What do you think the practical applications of this information for restauranteurs could be?
     
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  8. chefross

    chefross

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    I find this topic fascinating. Having cooked for over 48 years now, I have found that people respond to colors, sounds, and sites.
    If for one example I have found that coffee tastes better in brighter colored cups, but only in the morning.
    An evening cup of coffee after dinner tastes best in a darker colored cup.
     
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  9. Aditya77

    Aditya77

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    Thanks, well, to be honest, I don't know how to implement it. I tried pitching to a restaurant once and we tried working on cost reduction of raw materials. Can investing in certain shapes of mugs or plates reduce the sugar requirement, etc. The restaurant didn't follow up, so I am lost on the implementation bit.

    However, I do think that this can be used in special situations like improving the dining experience in schools like 21TonyK did. There may be a way such results can be used for increasing repeat customers. But I didn't think about implementation after the first project halted.

    Maybe chefs here can think about it in practical ways.
     
  10. 21TonyK

    21TonyK

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    I have just started working with a local residential home for adults with severe disabilities and acquired brain injuries. They are where the schools were 5-6 years ago. Will be interesting to see how it pans out.