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Methven L.,University of Reading | Langreney E.,University of Reading | Langreney E.,School of Industrial Biology | Prescott J.,University of Reading | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2012

Multiple exposures have been shown to increase preference for novel foods or flavours. This " mere exposure" effect is also well known anecdotally for changes in preference for tastants within foods, for example reducing sugar in tea or coffee. However, to date, this phenomenon has received little scientific attention. The present study addressed this issue in relation to changes in preference for salt within soup. Following an initial assessment of liking, familiarity and saltiness of six soups varying in salt content (0-337. mg NaCl/ml), 37 participants, previously assessed for their preferred salt level in soup, were allocated to either an exposure group that received 20. ml soup samples with no added salt, to a group that received a 280. ml bowl of this soup, or to a control group that received 20. ml soup samples containing salt at 280. mg/100. g (within normal, commercial range). Soups were presented on eight occasions, at approximately daily intervals. The two groups receiving the no added salt soup showed increases in liking starting at the third exposure, and also evident in a repeat assessment following the exposures. Increases in familiarity of the no added salt soup were also evident during exposure. Rated saltiness of all soups increased as a function of exposure, so a change in saltiness perception could not account for changes in liking for just the no added salt soups. These data suggest that simple exposure to the taste of the no added salt soup was sufficient to increase liking to a level equivalent to the initially more preferred salt level. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Yeomans M.R.,University of Sussex | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting | Prescott J.,University of Florence
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Learning and Cognition | Year: 2016

Pairing an odor and taste can change ratings of the odor's perceptual and hedonic characteristics. Behavioral indices of such changes are lacking and here we measured sniffing to assess learned changes in odor liking due to pairing with sweet and bitter tastes. Participants were divided on their liking for sweetness, as well as dietary disinhibition (Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire-Disinhibition scale [TFEQ-D]), both of which influence hedonic odor-taste learning. In sweet likers, both sniff duration and peak amplitude increased for the sweet-paired odor. Sniff magnitude decreased for sweet- and quininepaired odors in sweet-dislikers and sweet likers smelling the quinine-paired odor. In sweet-likers, liking for the sweet-paired odor increased with both TFEQ-D score and hunger, and sniff magnitude with TFEQ-D only. There were no predictors of changes in response to the quinine-paired odor. Brief coexperience of odors with sweet tastes can lead therefore to measurable changes in sniffing, providing a novel behavioral index of odor liking. © 2016 American Psychological Association.


PubMed | University of Sussex and TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of experimental psychology. Animal learning and cognition | Year: 2016

Pairing an odor and taste can change ratings of the odors perceptual and hedonic characteristics. Behavioral indices of such changes are lacking and here we measured sniffing to assess learned changes in odor liking due to pairing with sweet and bitter tastes. Participants were divided on their liking for sweetness, as well as dietary disinhibition (Three-Factor Eating Questionnaire-Disinhibition scale [TFEQ-D]), both of which influence hedonic odor-taste learning. In sweet likers, both sniff duration and peak amplitude increased for the sweet-paired odor. Sniff magnitude decreased for sweet- and quinine-paired odors in sweet-dislikers and sweet likers smelling the quinine-paired odor. In sweet-likers, liking for the sweet-paired odor increased with both TFEQ-D score and hunger, and sniff magnitude with TFEQ-D only. There were no predictors of changes in response to the quinine-paired odor. Brief coexperience of odors with sweet tastes can lead therefore to measurable changes in sniffing, providing a novel behavioral index of odor liking. (PsycINFO Database Record


Spinelli S.,Prato | Masi C.,University of Florence | Zoboli G.P.,Adacta International S.p.A. | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting | Monteleone E.,University of Florence
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2015

Investigating the emotions elicited by a product considering only its sensory characteristics or both its sensory characteristics and packaging/branding can give a deeper insight into product perception and can help companies in the design and optimisation of products that meet consumer expectations. The aim of this study was to (i) measure how liking changes across blind, package (expected) and informed conditions, and (ii) measure how emotions change across blind and informed conditions, in products representing the widest range of sensory variability and brand identity in the market category of hazelnut and cocoa spreads. In the first session participants (n=120) tasted each product in a blind condition, expressed their liking and rated emotions using the EmoSemio questionnaire specifically developed for this product category (Spinelli, Masi, Dinnella, Zoboli, & Monteleone, 2014). Then consumers were asked to rate their expected liking for the products, presented in the original packaging by means of photos (pack/expected condition). After one week, consumers tasted each product presented with its own packaging (informed condition), expressed their liking and rated emotions.Emotions were very discriminating in both conditions: in the informed condition all the emotions significantly varied across samples, while in the blind condition 21 out of 23 (91.3%) varied.Results showed a correlation between liking (blind, expected and informed) and emotions. Complete assimilation of liking toward expectations was associated to an overall improvement of the emotional performance of the product: positive emotions increased in the case of complete assimilation towards the expectations, while negative emotions decreased. When there was a mismatch between expected liking evoked by packaging and blind liking (disconfirmation) but an assimilation effect was not found, some positive emotions significantly decreased in the informed condition compared to the blind one.This study suggests the importance of collecting emotion responses in both blind and informed conditions to detect changes in the emotional profile of products due to the brand/packaging providing information useful for product optimisation. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


Masi C.,University of Florence | Dinnella C.,University of Florence | Monteleone E.,University of Florence | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Physiology and Behavior | Year: 2015

Despite a few relationships between fungiform papillae (FP) density and 6-n-propylthiouracil (PROP) taster status have been reported for sensory qualities within foods, the impact on preferences remains relatively unclear. The present study investigated responses of FP number and PROP taster groups to different bitter compounds and how these affect coffee perception, consumption and liking. Subjects (Ss) with higher FP numbers (HFP) gave higher liking ratings to coffee samples than those with lower FP numbers (LFP), but only for sweetened coffee. Moreover, HFP Ss added more sugar to the samples than LFP Ss. Significant differences between FP groups were also found for the sourness of the coffee samples, but not for bitterness and astringency. However, HFP Ss rated bitter taste stimuli as stronger than did LFP Ss. While coffee liking was unrelated to PROP status, PROP non-tasters (NTs) added more sugar to the coffee samples than did super-tasters (STs). In addition, STs rated sourness, bitterness and astringency as stronger than NTs, both in coffee and standard solutions. These results confirm that FP density and PROP status play a significant role in taste sensitivity for bitter compounds in general and also demonstrate that sugar use is partly a function of fundamental individual differences in physiology. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.


Kim J.-Y.,Ewha Womans University | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting | Kim K.-O.,Ewha Womans University
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2014

While preferred levels of sweetness are known to differ across individuals, investigations of hedonic responses to sweetness across multiple concentrations in both model system and beverage are limited. The objective of this study was to classify people according to their preferred sweetness in sucrose solutions and beverages. The stimuli were water and flavored beverages, each containing five levels of sucrose. A total of 200 female subjects rated liking and intensity of sweetness for sucrose solutions, and they conducted paired preference tests using the Monell forced-choice, paired-comparison, tracking procedure. These tests were replicated for the beverage. These evaluations were conducted on two separate occasions, once while the subjects were hungry and once relatively sated. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed three distinct clusters based on the hedonic ratings. Cluster 1 showed positive hedonic ratings with increased sucrose concentration in both systems. Cluster 2 showed positive ratings to sucrose increases in the beverage, but not in the sucrose solution. Cluster 3 showed an inverted-U shaped pattern. These patterns were confirmed by the result of the Monell test. Similar trends were observed when the subjects were asked to rate liking of chocolates and in ratings of preferences for commonly consumed sweet and savory food items. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.


Stevenson R.J.,Macquarie University | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science | Year: 2014

Cognition influences what, when and how much we eat, which in turn affects the brain and hence cognition. In this overview, focusing mainly on the human literature, we start by examining cognitive influences on food and eating. This includes food preferences and choices (e.g., effects of learning, advertising, and cultural taboos), food habits relating to when and how much to eat (e.g., the concept of meals, dieting, and hunger strikes), the perception of food (e.g., the influence of appearance, food labels, and conceptions of naturalness), and how food perception is influenced by expertise. We also review how these various influences are disrupted by abnormalities of cognition (e.g., Gourmand syndrome, amnesia, and anorexia nervosa). The second part of the overview focuses on how diet affects cognition. We start by looking at the acute effects of diet, notably the impact of breakfast on cognitive performance in children. This is followed by a review of the effects of extended dietary exposures-years and lifetimes of particular diets. Here we look at the impacts of protein-energy malnourishment and Western-style diets, and their different, but adverse affects on cognition, and the beneficial effects on cognition of breast-feeding and certain dietary practices. We then outline how diet and cooking may have allowed the evolution of the large energy-hungry human brain. This overview serves to illustrate the multiple interactions that exist between cognition and diet, their importance to health and disease, and their impact on thinking about the role of conscious processes in decision making. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Methven L.,University of Reading | Xiao C.,University of Reading | Cai M.,University of Reading | Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2016

Sweetness is generally a desirable taste, however consumers can be grouped into sweet likers and dislikers according to optimally preferred sucrose concentrations. Understanding the levels of sweetness in products that are acceptable and unacceptable to both consumer groups is important to product development and for influencing dietary habits. The concentrations at which sucrose decreases liking (the rejection threshold; RjT) in liquid and semi-solid matrices were investigated in this study. Thirty six consumers rated their liking of 5 sucrose aqueous solutions; this identified 36% sweet likers (SL) whose liking ratings increased with increasing sucrose and 64% sweet dislikers (SD) whose liking ratings decreased above 6% (w/v) sucrose. We hypothesized that SL and SD would have different RjT for sucrose in products. This was tested by preparing 8 levels of sucrose in orange juice and orange jelly and presenting each against the lowest level in forced choice preference tests. In orange juice, as sucrose increased from 33 g/L to 75 g/L the proportion of people preferring the sweeter sample increased in both groups. However, at higher sucrose levels, the proportion of consumers preferring the sweet sample decreased. For SD, a RjT was reached at 380 g/L, whereas a significant RjT for SL was not reached. RjT in jelly were not reached as the sweetness in orange jelly was significantly lower than for orange juice (p < 0.001). Despite statistically significant differences in rated sweetness between SL and SD (p = 0.019), the extent of difference between the two groups was minor. The results implied that sweet liker status was not substantially related to differences in sweetness perception. Self-reported dietary intake of carbohydrate, sugars and sucrose were not significantly affected by sweet liker status. However the failure to find an effect may be due to the small sample size and future studies within a larger, more representative population sample are justifiable from the results of this study. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.


Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Physiology and Behavior | Year: 2012

Recent approaches to perception that have emphasised multi-sensory interactions have been crucial in developing a view of flavour as a cognitive construct derived from a synthesis of gustatory, olfactory and oral somatosensory inputs. The perceptual interactions between these distinct sensory channels provide evidence for the existence of a functional flavour system. This system is characterised by a dependence on associative learning in which odours and tastes come to share common features. In addition, studies in which attention is directed to the flavour or its elements during learning provide evidence for a view that flavour is encoded as a configural stimulus following spatial and temporal pairing of the different sensory inputs. Such encoding produces changes in the perceptual properties of odours/flavours - as illustrated by sweet-smelling odours - but is also responsible for changes in hedonic valence through flavour-flavour and flavour-consequence learning. In turn, flavour and odours can act as conditioned cues that have appetitive effects. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.


Prescott J.,TasteMatters Research and Consulting
Current Opinion in Food Science | Year: 2015

Although food flavours are composed of distinct sensory properties - odours and tastes primarily - there is ample evidence that these properties are not perceived independently. Interactions between flavour qualities can be seen as reflecting repeated joint experience with those qualities. As a consequence, odours take on the properties of tastes, both perceptual and hedonic. Understanding these processes provides insight into the ways in which consumers perceive flavours, namely as synthetic, hedonically valenced wholes that form the basis of food choice. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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