Assessing the role of sound in the perception of food and drink
Zampini M., Spence C.
The consumption of food and drink are among the most multisensory of our perceptual experiences. In fact, the evaluation of foodstuffs is not only influenced by the unified oral sensation (or Gestalt) of taste and smell in the mouth but also by what the foods look, feel (i.e., oral texture, temperature, viscosity, etc.), and sound like (particularly for noisy foods such as crisps, celery, carrots, etc.) when we eat or drink them. The empirical literature reviewed here highlights the important role that auditory cues have on our perception of a variety of different food and drink items. In particular, changing the sounds that are made when we bite into a foodstuff, or the sounds that are made by carbonated drinks, have both been shown to have a dramatic effect on perception. Auditory stimuli that are not even directly food-related have also been shown to influence people's behavior. The present article reviews the growing body of research, highlighting the significant effects that music and other auditory stimuli can have on people's food choices. Taken together, the results of the studies reported here unequivocally show that what people hear (be it food-related or nonrelated sounds) can have a dramatic effect on their perceptions of food and drink. Finally, we report a number of explanations that have been put forward in order to account for these cross-modal effects. © 2010 Springer Science + Business Media, LLC.