van Beilen M.,University of Groningen |
Bult H.,Center for Innovative Consumer Studies |
Renken R.,University of Groningen |
Stieger M.,Center for Innovative Consumer Studies |
And 5 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011
Little is known about the influence of visual characteristics other than colour on flavor perception, and the complex interactions between more than two sensory modalities. This study focused on the effects of recognizability of visual (texture) information on flavor perception of odorized sweet beverages. Participants rated the perceived sweetness of odorized sucrose solutions in the presence or absence of either a congruent or incongruent visual context. Odors were qualitatively reminiscent of sweet foods (strawberry and caramel) or not (savoury). Visual context was either an image of the same sweet foods (figurative context) or a visual texture derived from this product (non-figurative context). Textures were created using a texture synthesis method that preserved perceived food qualities while removing object information. Odor-taste combinations were rated sweeter within a figurative than a non-figurative context. This behaviour was exhibited for all odor-taste combinations, even in trials without images, indicating sustained priming by figurative visual context. A non-figurative context showed a transient sweetening effect. Sweetness was generally enhanced most by the strawberry odor. We conclude that the degree of recognizability of visual information (figurative versus non-figurative), influences flavor perception differently. Our results suggest that this visual context priming is mediated by separate sustained and transient processes that are differently evoked by figurative and non-figurative visual contexts. These components operate independent of the congruency of the image-odor-taste combinations. © 2011 van Beilen et al.