SIPM news

How much do your expectations alter the way you perceive the flavour of a food?  Chef Heston Blumenthal is world famous for his application of ideas from sensory science to generate a world famous award winning menus.

Research at Sussex adds to the science behind Heston Blumenthal's sensory experience menu. 

So how do you expectations influence how much you appreciate food?  For years it has been shown that incongruity between what you expect and what you experience can greatly alter your experience.  A well cited case was a study showing that trainee wine tasters when served a well known white wine which had been coloured to mimic classic red wine were fooled to the extent that they only used red-wine language when trying to describe the ambiguous (white) wine,

So where does SIPM fit into this?  The flexibility of the Taste Test component allowed scientists at Sussex to present volunteers with a smooth, peach-coloured ice-cream. Participoants who had been told that this was "Ice-cream" rated this as inedible, disgusting, truly horrid!  But told that it was a frozen savoury mousse, participants were intrigued, and showed no unpleasant reactions (some even wanted the recipe)!  The reason for the difference?  This was smoked-salmon ice-cream.  So an expecation of sweet fruit followed by unexpected salty fish rendered the food inedible. 

You can read the original paper following this link or email the author for a copy (martin@sussex.ac.uk )

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