The influence of auditory cues on the perception of, and responses to, food and drink
Spence C., Shankar MU.
Does what we hear influence our perception of, and behaviors toward, food and drink? If so, what are the mechanism(s) underlying these cross-modal effects? While many people intuitively believe that our sense of hearing has little influence on our experiences of foodstuffs, the evidence that has been published to date suggests that this is not always the case. In this article, we review the growing body of empirical research demonstrating that what we hear can affect our perception of, and responses to, food and drink. We review both laboratory-based research and real-world (ecological) studies of the effects of music and other auditory stimuli on people's food-related behaviors. This research has revealed that what we hear (be it music, the sounds we make while eating, or even pure tones or bursts of white noise) can have a dramatic effect on our perceptions of food and drink. Auditory stimuli influence people's consumption rates, their preference ratings and their flavor assessments, and have even been shown to significantly impact on the overall amount that people consume. We highlight a number of explanations, including multisensory integration, attention, associative learning and expectations, that have all been put forward in order to account for these cross-modal effects. © 2010, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.