Influencing Flavour Perception of Chocolate Using Virtual Reality

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When we eat food, not just the actual taste in uences how we perceive the taste of the food. All senses contribute to this perceived taste, called the avour. In this thesis, the in uence of vision will be looked at more closely. Many experiments have shown that the appearance of food in uences the avour; everything from the colour and shape of the food to the colour of the plate has an in uence. There are two aspects to avour: its identity (is this orange avoured or is this pear avoured?) and its intensity (how strong is this avour?). Both can be in uenced by the colour of the food. So far, experiments that have looked into this have used non-solid foods or drinks, as it is easier to manipulate these types of foods. In this experiment, virtual reality is used to manipulate the colour of a non-solid food: chocolate. Participants ate chocolate in real life and in a virtual environment. In one of the trials with virtual reality, the colour of the chocolate was changed: the participants ate one type of chocolate (dark or milk) but they saw the other type of chocolate. The in uence of the appearance on both avour identity and intensity was investigated. Some participants thought they were eating the type of chocolate that they saw and thus, for them, the avour identity was in uenced by the appearance of the food. For others, however, it was not. Some participants rated the intensity of a few attributes (bitterness, sweetness, cacao, and creaminess) more like the chocolate they saw than like the chocolate they were eating. For them, the avour intensity was in uenced by the appearance of the food, but again, for others it was not. Due to the small sample size and the big inter-subject di erences, the results were inconclusive. Future research could try and nd more conclusive results and could try to nd out why there were such big inter-subject di erences.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen