Crossmodal contributions to the perception of piquancy/spiciness
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The last 500 years or so has seen a phenomenal increase of interest in piquant/spicy food around the world. In this review, the latest research documenting the crossmodal influences on the perception of oral piquancy/spiciness that have been established to date are summarized: Everything from the color of the foodstuff through the color of the plateware on which that food is served has been found to influence both the expected and experienced piquancy/spiciness of food. Furthermore, certain musical parameters have also been shown to enhance the perceived piquancy of the food in a restaurant setting. By contrast, spicy smells have not, as yet, attracted anything like as much research interest from the scientific community. Intriguingly, many of the crossmodal influences on piquancy/spiciness that have been documented to date appear to be more pronounced when the actual experience on tasting the food is close to the preconsumption expectations. And while many of the crossmodal effects in this area appear to mirror those found previously for basic taste and flavor stimuli, there is a sense in which the broader range of intensities of sensation experienced in relation to chili/capsaicin may mean that crossmodal influences are somewhat different in this case. Practical applications: Piquancy/spiciness is a highly desirable food attribute. In fact, chiles are eaten by one in four of us every day. As yet, however, it has not attracted anything like the research interest that the basic tastes have. This review draws attention to the multisensory factors (including color, sound, etc.) that have recently been shown to modulate the experienced piquancy/spiciness of a dish. Given its widespread appeal, gaining a better understanding of this most desirable of oral sensations is likely to benefit food providers.