Auditory contributions to flavour perception and feeding behaviour.
This article reviews the research that has looked at the role of audition in both flavour perception and feeding behaviour in humans. The article starts by looking at early research that focused on the effect of background noise on the sensory-discriminative aspects of taste/flavour perception and on people's hedonic responses to food and beverage items. Next, I move on to look at the role of the sound made by the food (or beverage) itself. Additionally, recent studies that have started to assess the impact of food and beverage packaging sounds, not to mention food preparation sounds, on people's sensory-discriminative and hedonic responses to a variety of food and beverage products are discussed. Finally, the literature on the effect of background music and/or soundscapes on food and beverage perception/consumption are reviewed briefly. Taken together, this body of research, spanning both highly-controlled laboratory experiments and more ecologically-valid field studies, clearly demonstrates that what the consumer hears, be it the sound of the food, the sound of the packaging, the sound of the machine used to prepare that food or beverage (e.g., as in the case of the sound of a coffee machine), and even the sound of the environment in which the consumer happens to be eating and drinking can all exert a profound, if often unacknowledged, role in our feeding behaviours not to mention on our flavour perception.