The role of auditory cues in modulating the perceived crispness and staleness of potato chips
Zampini M., Spence C.
We investigated whether the perception of the crispness and staleness of potato chips can be affected by modifying the sounds produced during the biting action. Participants in our study bit into potato chips with their front teeth while rating either their crispness or freshness using a computer-based visual analog scale. The results demonstrate that the perception of both the crispness and staleness was systematically altered by varying the loudness and/or frequency composition of the auditory feedback elicited during the biting action. The potato chips were perceived as being both crisper and fresher when either the overall sound level was increased, or when just the high frequency sounds (in the range of 2 kHz-20 kHz) were selectively amplified. These results highlight the significant role that auditory cues can play in modulating the perception and evaluation of foodstuffs (despite the fact that consumers are often unaware of the influence of such auditory cues). The paradigm reported here also provides a novel empiric methodology for assessing such multisensory contributions to food perception. © Copyright 2004, Blackwell Publishing.