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There has been a noticeable increase of interest in research on multisensory flavour perception in recent years. Humans are visually dominant creatures and a growing body of research has investigated how visual cues influence taste/flavour perception. At the same time, however, several null or limited findings have also been published recently; that is, studies showing either partial demonstrations or else failing to find any evidence in their data for the influence of specific visual cues on taste/flavour perception. By performing a systematic review and a critical evaluation of the literature that has been published to date, the present paper reveals whether and when visual cues (e.g., colour and shape) affect taste/flavour perception: The reviewed research demonstrates that visual cues can significantly affect taste/flavour perception under certain conditions, but that mixed, limited, and/or null results have also been reported in a number of other studies. We discuss potential moderators (the salience/attentional capture of visual cues, the strength of association between visual cues and taste/flavour, the perceived diagnosticity of visual cues regarding the signalling of taste/flavour, the evaluative malleability of food judgments) that might help to explain a number of the inconsistent findings that have appeared in the literature since 2011. Several important areas of future research in this area of inquiry are also identified.

Original publication




Journal article


Food Quality and Preference

Publication Date