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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.


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.


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 | Pirastu N.,Institute for Maternal and Child Health IRCCS Burlo Garofolo | Pirastu N.,University of Trieste | And 3 more authors.
Food Quality and Preference | Year: 2016

Several factors - genetic, demographic and environmental - contribute to individual differences in sensitivity to the pharmacological effects of caffeine. Caffeine metabolism influences coffee consumption, but its effect on bitterness perception in, and preference for, coffee is unknown.This study explores the possible relationship between caffeine metabolism rate and coffee preferences and consumption habits. In addition, the extent to which caffeine metabolism interacted with variations in bitterness perception was investigated. Caffeine metabolism rate was assayed by competitive immuno-enzymatic assay in one-hundred thirty-five coffee consumers who provided saliva samples after 12 h caffeine abstinence and at 30 and 90 min after ingestion of caffeine (100 mg). A caffeine metabolism index (CmI) was computed as the ratio between the amount of residual caffeine in saliva 60 min after the adsorption peak and the amount of caffeine at the adsorption peak corrected with the baseline. Ninety-one subjects were selected to investigate the relationships between inter-individual variation in caffeine metabolism, bitterness perception and coffee preference. Subjects rated liking for, and sourness, bitterness and astringency of, six unsweetened and freely sweetened coffee samples varying in roasting degree, caffeine content and bitterness. They also rated the bitterness of six caffeine and six quinine (equi-intense) solutions. Finally, subjects choose coffee to drink on the basis of a label (strong vs balanced flavor) both after caffeine abstinence and after no restrictions on caffeine intake. The CmI was strongly associated with the frequency of daily coffee consumption. Subjects with lower CmI gave higher bitterness ratings than other subjects for both coffee and caffeine solutions, but not for quinine solutions. They also added more sugar to the coffee samples. Following caffeine abstinence, all subjects chose the "strong flavor" coffee, while without caffeine restrictions, subjects with lower CmI preferentially tended to choose the "balanced flavor" coffee. These results provide the first link between caffeine metabolism and bitterness perception, and to the use of sugar to modify coffee bitterness. © 2016 .

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