Effects of Visual Texture on Food Perception
53.551, Tuesday, May 14, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm, Vista Ballroom
Katsunori Okajima1, Junya Ueda1, Charles Spence2; 1Yokohama National University, 2University of Oxford
Although it is well-known that the color and form of food affect peoples taste and flavor perception, relatively little is currently known about the influence of the visual texture of a foodstuff on food perception. We developed an Augmented Reality (AR) system that was capable of changing the texture of food in real time. We conducted a series of experiments designed to investigate how the visual texture and appearance of food influences taste and flavor perception. Participants viewed a video of food (e.g., tomato ketchup) presented on a dish placed in the front of them. The luminance distribution of the food in the dynamic video was continuously and quantitatively modified by tracking specified colors in real-time. We changed the color, the luminance histogram, and/or the visual texture of the food. The participants could see their hand as their spoon dipped into the food from the real time video feed, prior to tasting. The participants reported before and after tasting the food on the expected and perceived flavor. The results demonstrated that peoples perception of food can be modulated by changing the luminance histogram of the visual image. In addition, the results revealed high correlations between solidity/liquidity estimations with appearance and tasting, thus providing the first empirical evidence that the visual texture, independent of any change in color, affects the perceived texture of an ecologically valid foodstuff. The effect of visual texture on food texture were highly consistent across participants, whereas the effects of visual texture on flavor perception were not, suggesting that higher-order food attributes may reflect individual experiences that are more complicated than for texture perception (sensory-discriminative response).