We present an overview of the recent research conducted by the first author of this article, in which the influence of sound on the perception of taste/flavor in beer is evaluated. Three studies in total are presented and discussed. These studies assessed how people match different beers with music and the influence that the latter can have on the perception and enjoyment of the beers. In general, the results revealed that in certain contexts sound can modulate the perceived strength and taste attributes of the beer as well as its associated hedonic experience. We conclude by discussing the potential mechanisms behind these taste-flavor/sound interactions, and the implications of these studies in the context of multisensory food and drink experience design. We suggest that future work may also build on cognitive neuroscience. In particular, such an approach may complement our understanding of the underlying brain mechanisms of auditory/gustatory interactions.
- Multisensory experiences
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
By taste we refer to the basic components that are mostly captured by the tongue (sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, sourness and umami). Flavor, on the other hand, is a more complex experience that also involves, at least, retro nasal olfaction.
Link to the songs http://sonicseasoningbeer.tumblr.com/ (retrieved on March, 2016).
See http://www.editorsofficial.com/ (retrieved November 2015).
Link to the song - https://play.spotify.com/track/4yVv19QPf9WmaAmYWOrdfr?play=true&utm_source=open.spotify.com&utm_medium=open (retrieved January 2016).
For example, in ’s Table 1 - which summarizes the results of a number of studies carried out by different research groups - high spectral balance, staccato articulation, syncopated rhythm, high pitch, among others, are musical/psychoacoustic elements that correspond to sourness. Furthermore, due to the predominant piano in the second verse, the song might also be expected to have an effect on the perceived levels of sweetness.
83% of the participants reported knowing TBP (N = 191). When asked how often the participants consumed products from TBP - on a 7 point scale, with 1 corresponding to ‘never’ and 7 to ‘very often’ - the mean of their answers was 3.30 (SD 1.80). Note that, since the vast majority of the participants reported knowing TBP, in this study it was not possible to include in our data analysis control for familiarity of the beer’s brand.
A few quick notes on how chocolate works in the brain were reviewed from both of the following links. http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/chocolate-high2.htm and http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/chocolate-dopamine-3660.html (retrieved on February, 2016); see  for a review on mood state effects of chocolate.
Important to note here that arousal and valence are the most common ways to characterize changes in emotions. In other words, the relation between high/low arousal and positive/negative valence are used to define an emotional state.
Astolfi, A., Filippi, M.: Good acoustical quality in restaurants: a compromise between speech intelligibility and privacy. In: Proceedings 18th International Congress on Acoustics ICA 2004, Kyoto, pp. 1201–1204 (2004)
Blood, A.J., Zatorre, R.J.: Intensely pleasurable responses to music correlate with activity in brain regions implicated in reward and emotion. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. 98(20), 11818–11823 (2001)
Calvert, G.A., Thesen, T.: Multisensory integration: methodological approaches and emerging principles in the human brain. J. Physiol.-Paris 98(1), 191–205 (2004)
Chen, Y.C., Spence, C.: When hearing the bark helps to identify the dog: semantically-congruent sounds modulate the identification of masked pictures. Cognition 114(3), 389–404 (2010)
Cheskin, L.: Marketing success: how to achieve it. Cahners Books, Boston (1972)
Collier, G.L.: Affective synesthesia: extracting emotion space from simple perceptual stimuli. Motiv. Emot. 20(1), 1–32 (1996)
Deneve, S., Pouget, A.: Bayesian multisensory integration and cross-modal spatial links. J. Physiol.-Paris 98(1), 249–258 (2004)
Deroy, O., Crisinel, A.S., Spence, C.: Crossmodal correspondences between odors and contingent features: odors, musical notes, and geometrical shapes. Psychon. Bull. Rev. 20(5), 878–896 (2013)
Doehrmann, O., Naumer, M.J.: Semantics and the multisensory brain: how meaning modulates processes of audio-visual integration. Brain Res. 1242, 136–150 (2008)
Elder, R.S., Mohr, G.S.: The crunch effect: food sound salience as a consumption monitoring cue. Food Qual. Prefer. 51, 39–46 (2016)
Ferber, C., Cabanac, M.: Influence of noise on gustatory affective ratings and preference for sweet or salt. Appetite 8(3), 229–235 (1987)
Fiegel, A., Meullenet, J.F., Harrington, R.J., Humble, R., Seo, H.S.: Background music genre can modulate flavor pleasantness and overall impression of food stimuli. Appetite 76, 144–152 (2014)
Frandsen, L.W., Dijksterhuis, G.B., Brockhoff, P.B., Nielsen, J.H., Martens, M.: Feelings as a basis for discrimination: comparison of a modified authenticity test with the same–different test for slightly different types of milk. Food Qual. Prefer. 18(1), 97–105 (2007)
Heath, T.P., Melichar, J.K., Nutt, D.J., Donaldson, L.F.: Human taste thresholds are modulated by serotonin and noradrenaline. J. Neurosci. 26(49), 12664–12671 (2006)
Heylighen, A., Rychtáriková, M., Vermeir, G.: Designing spaces for every listener. Univ. Access Inf. Soc. 9(3), 283–292 (2009)
Kantono, K., Hamid, N., Shepherd, D., Yoo, M.J., Carr, B.T., Grazioli, G.: The effect of background music on food pleasantness ratings. Psychol. Music 44(5), 1111–1125 (2015)
Kantono, K., Hamid, N., Shepherd, D., Yoo, M.J.Y., Grazioli, G., Carr, T.B.: Listening to music can influence hedonic and sensory perceptions of gelati. Appetite 100, 244–255 (2016)
Knoeferle, K., Spence, C.: Crossmodal correspondences between sounds and tastes. Psychon. Bull. Rev. 19, 992–1006 (2012)
Kuppens, P., Tuerlinckx, F., Yik, M., Koval, P., Coosemans, J., Zeng, K.J., Russell, J.A.: The relation between valence and arousal in subjective experience varies with personality and culture. J. Pers. 85(4), 530–542 (2017)
Luckett, C.R., Meullenet, J.F., Seo, H.S.: Crispness level of potato chips affects temporal dynamics of flavor perception and mastication patterns in adults of different age groups. Food Qual. Prefer. 51, 8–19 (2016)
Marks, L.E.: The Unity of the Senses: Interrelations Among the Modalities. Academic Press, Cambridge (1978)
Marks, L.E.: On perceptual metaphors. Metaphor Symb. 11(1), 39–66 (1996)
Parise, C.V., Spence, C.: When birds of a feather flock together: synesthetic correspondences modulate audiovisual integration in non-synesthetes. PLoS One 4(5), e5664 (2009)
Parker, G., Parker, I., Brotchie, H.: Mood state effects of chocolate. J. Affect. Disord. 92(2), 149–159 (2006)
Pollatos, O., Kopietz, R., Linn, J., Albrecht, J., Sakar, V., Anzinger, A., Wiesmann, M.: Emotional stimulation alters olfactory sensitivity and odor judgment. Chem. Senses 32(6), 583–589 (2007)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Van Ee, R., Touhafi, A.: T.A.S.T.E. Testing auditory solutions towards the improvement of the tasting experience. In: Proceedings of 10th International Symposium on Computer Music Multidisciplinary Research. Marseille, pp. 795–805. Publications of L.M.A (2013)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Van Ee, R., Rychtarikova, M., Touhafi A., Steenhaut, K., Persoone, D., Spence, C. Leman, M.: Does music influence de Multisensory tasting experience? J. Sens. Stud. 30(5), 404–412 (2015a)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Van Ee, R., Rychtarikova, M., Touhafi, A., Steenhaut, K., Persoone, D., Spence, C.: Using sound-taste correspondences to enhance the subjective value of tasting experiences. Front. Psychol. 6,1309 (2015b)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Van Ee, R., Touhafi, A., Steenhaut, K., Leman, M., Rychtarikova, M.: Assessing multisensory tasting experiences by means of customized sonic cues. In: Proceedings of Euronoise 2015, Maastricht, vol. 352, pp. 1–6 (2015c)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Wang, Q.J., Steenhaut, K., Van Ee, R., Spence, C.: Tune that beer! Finding the pitch corresponding to the Taste of Belgian Bitter Beers (submitted A)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Wang, Q. J., Van Ee, R., Spence, C.: The influence of soundscapes on the perception and evaluation of beers. Food Qual. Prefer. 52, 32–41 (2016a)
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Velasco, C., Van Ee, R., Leboeuf, Y., Spence C.: Music influences hedonic and taste ratings in beer. Front. Psychol. 7 (2016b)
Salimpor, V.N., Benovoy, M., Larcher, K., Dagher, A., Zatorre, R.J.: Anatomically distinct dopamine release during anticipation and experience of peak emotion to music. Nat. Neurosci. 14(2), 257–262 (2011)
Satpute, A., Kang, J., Bickart, K., Yardley, H., Wager, T., Barrett, L.F.: Involvement of sensory regions in affective experience: a meta-analysis. Front. Psychol. 6 (2015)
Seo, H.S., Hummel, T.: Influence of auditory cues on chemosensory perception. In: Guthrie, B., Beauchamp, J.D., Buettner, A., Lavine, B.K. (eds.) The Chemical Sensory Informatics of Food: Measurement, Analysis, Integration, pp. 41–56. ACS Symposium Series (2015)
Shepherd, G.M.: Smell images and the flavour system in the human brain. Nature 444(7117), 316–321 (2006)
Small, D.M.: Flavor is in the brain. Physiol. Behav. 107(4), 540–552 (2012)
Spence, C.: Crossmodal correspondences: a tutorial review. Atten. Percept. Psychophys. 73(4), 971–995 (2011)
Spence, C.: Auditory contributions to flavour perception and feeding behaviour. Physiol. Behav. 107(4), 505–515 (2012)
Spence, C.: Noise and its impact on the perception of food and drink. Flavor 3, 9 (2014)
Spence, C.: Eating with our ears: assessing the importance of the sounds of consumption to our perception and enjoyment of multisensory flavour experiences. Flavor, 4, 3 (2015a)
Spence, C.: Multisensory flavor perception. Cell 161(1), 24–35 (2015b)
Spence, C., Michel, C., Smith, B.: Airplane noise and the taste of umami. Flavor 3, 2 (2014)
Spence, C., Shankar, M.U.: The influence of auditory cues on the perception of, and responses to, food and drink. J. Sens. Stud. 25, 406–430 (2010)
Spence, C., Piqueras-Fiszman, B.: The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining. Wiley, Oxford (2014)
Spence, C., Richards, L., Kjellin, E., Huhnt, A.-M., Daskal, V., Scheybeler, A., Velasco, C., Deroy, O.: Looking for crossmodal correspondences between classical music and fine wine. Flavor 2, 29 (2013)
Spence, C., Wang, Q.J.: Wine and music (II): can you taste the music? Modulating the experience of wine through music and sound. Flavor 4(1), 1–14 (2015)
Stafford, L.D., Fernandes, M., Agobiani, E.: Effects of noise and distraction on alcohol perception. Food Qual. Prefer. 24(1), 218–224 (2012)
Stein, B.E., Stanford, T.R., Ramachandran, R., Perrault Jr., T.J., Rowland, B.A.: Challenges in quantifying multisensory integration: alternative criteria, models, and inverse effectiveness. Exp. Brain Res. 198(2–3), 113–126 (2009)
Velasco, C., Woods, A.T., Petit, O., Cheok, A.D., Spence, C.: Crossmodal correspondences between taste and shape, and their implications for product packaging: a review. Food Qual. Prefer. 52, 17–26 (2016)
Wang, Q.J., Woods, A., Spence, C.: “What’s your taste in music?” A comparison of the effectiveness of various soundscapes in evoking specific tastes. i-Perception 6, 6 (2015)
Wesson, D.W., Wilson, D.A.: Smelling sounds: olfactory–auditory sensory convergence in the olfactory tubercle. J. Neurosci. 30(8), 3013–3021 (2010)
Wilkins, R.W., Hodges, D.A., Laurienti, P.J., Steen, M., Burdette, J.H.: Network science and the effects of music preference on functional brain connectivity: from Beethoven to Eminem. Sci. Rep. 4, 6130 (2014)
Woods, A.T., Poliakoff, E., Lloyd, D.M., Kuenzel, J., Hodson, R., Gonda, H., Batchelor, J., Dijksterhuis, A., Thomas, A.: Effect of background noise on food perception. Food Qual. Prefer. 22(1), 42–47 (2011)
Zampini, M., Spence, C.: The role of auditory cues in modulating the perceived crispness and staleness of potato chips. J. Sens. Stud. 19(5), 347–363 (2004)
Editors and Affiliations
Rights and permissions
© 2017 Springer International Publishing AG
About this paper
Cite this paper
Reinoso Carvalho, F., Touhafi, A., Steenhaut, K., van Ee, R., Velasco, C. (2017). Using Sound to Enhance Taste Experiences: An Overview. In: Aramaki, M., Kronland-Martinet, R., Ystad, S. (eds) Bridging People and Sound. CMMR 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10525. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-67738-5_19
Publisher Name: Springer, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-319-67737-8
Online ISBN: 978-3-319-67738-5
eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)