On Why Music Changes What (We Think) We Taste.

On why music changes what (we think) we taste.

Iperception. 2013; 4(2): 137-40
Spence C, Deroy O

A pair of recently published studies demonstrate that what we happen to be listening to can sometimes change our perception (or, at the very least, our rating) of what we are eating or drinking. In one recent study, North (2012) showed that the emotional attributes (or connotation) of a piece of music could influence people’s perception of red or white wine. Meanwhile, Crisinel et al. (2012) reported that listening to a lower-pitched soundscape can help to emphasize the bitter notes in a bittersweet toffee while listening to a soundscape with a higher pitch tends to bring out its sweetness. Although the most appropriate psychological and neuroscientific explanations for such crossmodal effects are still uncertain, we outline a number of possible alternatives for such intriguing, not to mention surprising, phenomena. HubMed – eating


Oral perceptions of fat and taste stimuli are modulated by affect and mood induction.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e65006
Platte P, Herbert C, Pauli P, Breslin PA

This study examined the impact of three clinical psychological variables (non-pathological levels of depression and anxiety, as well as experimentally manipulated mood) on fat and taste perception in healthy subjects. After a baseline orosensory evaluation, ‘sad’, ‘happy’ and ‘neutral’ video clips were presented to induce corresponding moods in eighty participants. Following mood manipulation, subjects rated five different oral stimuli, appearing sweet, umami, sour, bitter, fatty, which were delivered at five different concentrations each. Depression levels were assessed with Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI) and anxiety levels were assessed via the Spielberger’s STAI-trait and state questionnaire. Overall, subjects were able to track the concentrations of the stimuli correctly, yet depression level affected taste ratings. First, depression scores were positively correlated with sucrose ratings. Second, subjects with depression scores above the sample median rated sucrose and quinine as more intense after mood induction (positive, negative and neutral). Third and most important, the group with enhanced depression scores did not rate low and high fat stimuli differently after positive or negative mood induction, whereas, during baseline or during the non-emotional neutral condition they rated the fat intensity as increasing with concentration. Consistent with others’ prior observations we also found that sweet and bitter stimuli at baseline were rated as more intense by participants with higher anxiety scores and that after positive and negative mood induction, citric acid was rated as stronger tasting compared to baseline. The observation that subjects with mild subclinical depression rated low and high fat stimuli similarly when in positive or negative mood is novel and likely has potential implications for unhealthy eating patterns. This deficit may foster unconscious eating of fatty foods in sub-clinical mildly depressed populations. HubMed – eating


Mastication and risk for diabetes in a Japanese population: a cross-sectional study.

PLoS One. 2013; 8(6): e64113
Yamazaki T, Yamori M, Asai K, Nakano-Araki I, Yamaguchi A, Takahashi K, Sekine A, Matsuda F, Kosugi S, Nakayama T, Inagaki N, Bessho K,

Associations between mastication and insufficient nutrient intake, obesity, and glucose metabolism have been shown in previous studies. However, the association between mastication and diabetes has not been clarified. Our objective was to examine the association between mastication, namely masticatory performance or rate of eating, and diabetes in a population-based cohort.We conducted a cross-sectional study of the association between mastication and diabetes in the Nagahama Prospective Cohort Study, an ongoing study which recruits citizens of Nagahama City in Shiga Prefecture, central Japan. 2,283 male and 4,544 female residents aged 40-74 years were enrolled from July 2009 to November 2010. Masticatory performance was evaluated by spectrophotometric measurement of color changes after masticating color-changeable chewing gum. Categorical rate of eating (fast, intermediate or slow) was self-assessed using a questionnaire.177 males (7.7%) and 112 (2.4%) females were diagnosed with diabetes. We divided participants into four groups by quartile of masticatory performance, namely Q1 (lowest), 2, and 3 and 4 (highest). Compared to the lowest performance group, the multivariable adjusted odds ratio (OR) of diabetes was 0.91 (95% confidence interval (CI), 0.58-1.4) in Q2, 0.77 (95% CI, 0.48-1.2) in Q3, and 0.53 (95% CI, 0.31-0.90) in the highest group in males, and 1.2 (95% CI, 0.73-2.0), 0.95 (95% CI, 0.54-1.6) and 0.56 (95% CI, 0.30-1.0) in females. We also estimated ORs of diabetes by rate of eating. Compared to the fast eating group, ORs in males were 0.87 (95% CI, 0.61-1.2) in the intermediate group and 0.38 (95% CI, 0.16-0.91) in the slow group, and ORs in females were 0.92 (95% CI, 0.59-1.4) and 1.5 (95% CI, 0.73-3.0).These findings support the hypothesis that higher masticatory performance and slow eating prevent the occurrence of diabetes. HubMed – eating


Echolocation in Oilbirds and swiftlets.

Front Physiol. 2013; 4: 123
Brinkløv S, Fenton MB, Ratcliffe JM

The discovery of ultrasonic bat echolocation prompted a wide search for other animal biosonar systems, which yielded, among few others, two avian groups. One, the South American Oilbird (Steatornis caripensis: Caprimulgiformes), is nocturnal and eats fruit. The other is a selection of diurnal, insect-eating swiftlets (species in the genera Aerodramus and Collocalia: Apodidae) from across the Indo-Pacific. Bird echolocation is restricted to lower frequencies audible to humans, implying a system of poorer resolution than the ultrasonic (>20 kHz) biosonar of most bats and toothed whales. As such, bird echolocation has been labeled crude or rudimentary. Yet, echolocation is found in at least 16 extant bird species and has evolved several times in avian lineages. Birds use their syringes to produce broadband click-type biosonar signals that allow them to nest in dark caves and tunnels, probably with less predation pressure. There are ongoing discrepancies about several details of bird echolocation, from signal design to the question about whether echolocation is used during foraging. It remains to be seen if bird echolocation is as sophisticated as that of tongue-clicking rousette bats. Bird echolocation performance appears to be superior to that of blind humans using signals of notable similarity. However, no apparent specializations have been found so far in the birds’ auditory system (from middle ear to higher processing centers). The advent of light-weight recording equipment and custom software for examining signals and reconstructing flight paths now provides the potential to study the echolocation behavior of birds in more detail and resolve such issues. HubMed – eating



beat eating disorders : Friends – This clip, made by 5 girls for the eating disorders charity beat, is aimed at friends of someone suffering from an eating disorder. The film includes the gir…