What You Hear Can Influence What You Taste

What You Hear Can Influence What You Taste

What You Hear Can Influence What You Taste

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"Sonic seasoning" works by tricking the brain into perceiving that a flavor is more salty, sweet or sour than it actually is. High-pitched music can enhance the sweetness or sourness in foods. Low-pitched sounds enhance bitter flavors. Reduce unhealthy ingredients without losing any of the richness of food, just by changing the background music!

Have you ever wondered why beer in one pub tastes better than the other? This shift in taste is due to a phenomenon called “sonic seasoning”. Sensory influences come both from the food or drink itself and from the environment in which that food or drink is tasted and consumed.

Therefore, all of the senses can potentially contribute to the perception and experience of food and drink. Sonic cues can have a significant influence in the decision-making process for consumption.

Can You Change What You Taste By Adjusting What You Hear?

The phenomenon of ‘sonic seasoning’ works by tricking the brain into perceiving that a flavor is more salty, sweet or sour than it actually is. The sound and/or noise in those places where we eat and drink, such as restaurants and airplanes, can dramatically affect our perception of taste and flavor.

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They’ve found that higher-pitched music, like flutes and piano, enhance the flavor of sweet or sour foods. While lower-pitched sounds, like tubas and bass, enhance the bitter flavors.

This could be due to the fact that your brain has a previous conception of what bitter and sweet flavors should taste like. So, when you take a bite of food, you have an expectation of where that food should be classified on the bitter and sweet scale.

When high-pitched music is played, it draws your attention to the sweet or sour taste. Lower-pitched music can draw your attention to the bitter taste. This can lead to an increased perception of a particular flavor with ten folds increase in taste.1

Sonic Seasoning Soundtrack

There are various soundtracks available for all your sonic seasoning needs. You could test out the theory for yourself and set up some piano-based music while cooking and eating your meal, to induce the taste associated with sweetness. You can then take note of certain foods and their flavors. This way you can try it yourself and experience the phenomenon of sonic seasoning.

Though it is possible to significantly influence taste using sound that are unrelated to the food itself, but not all kinds of sounds may work equally well. Therefore, it is not far that we may see companies creating sensory apps and customized sound cues, which particularly play while you are eating their product to alter the taste. Restaurants and pubs can also make their food taste better, just by changing the music.

Sonic seasoning could also have a major impact on health, as the applications of sonic seasoning towards a healthy diet could be a possibility. Perhaps you could think about reducing the sugar in food just by changing the music in the background.

You could also cut down on unhealthy ingredients without losing any of the richness and make a dish appear up to 10 per cent more sweet or salty just through sounds. Ultimately, it is all in your head.2

References   [ + ]

1. Crisinel, Anne-Sylvie, and Charles Spence. “Implicit association between basic tastes and pitch.”Neuroscience letters 464.1 (2009): 39-42.
2. Reinoso Carvalho, Felipe, et al. “Assessing multisensory tasting experiences by means of customized soundscapes.” Euronoise 2015. Vol. 1. No. 1. Stichting Euronoise, 2015.

Disclaimer: The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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