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The influence of soundscapes on the perception and evaluation of beers

This publication appears in: Food Quality and Preference

Authors: F. Reinoso Carvalho, Q. (Janice) Wang, R. Van Ee and C. Spence

Volume: 52

Pages: 32-41

Publication Date: Sep. 2016


Abstract:

The effect of soundscapes on the taste evaluation of beers was analyzed in the research reported here. Three experiments were conducted in which participants tasted a beer twice, and rated the experience, each time under the influence of a different sound stimulus. The participants were not informed that they were, in fact, tasting the same beer. The objective was to determine whether soundtracks that have previously been shown to correspond to the different basic tastes would significantly modulate the perceived sweetness, bitterness, sourness, and alcohol content of the beers. Overall, the soundtracks influenced the participants’ rating of the beers’ taste and strength. Furthermore, a control study involving tasting the same beers without sonic stimuli, confirmed that these results could not simply be explained in terms of order (or adaptation) effects. These results therefore point to sensation transference as the potential mechanism underlying the observed crossmodal modulations of taste by sound. The present study underlines the potential of sound to enhance eating/drinking experiences. In this way, those working in the food industry may feel progressively more confident in adopting new multisensory techniques while designing eating/drinking experiences.

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