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Impact Factor:0.906
Source:2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

An Illusion You Can Sink Your Teeth into: Haptic Cues Modulate the Perceived Freshness and Crispness of Pretzels

  1. Michael Barnett-Cowan
    1. Department of Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Spemannstraße 38, 72076 Tübingen, Germany
  1. e-mail: mbarnettcowan{at}gmail.com


Eating is a multisensory experience involving more than simply the oral sensation of the taste and smell of foods. It has been shown that the way foods look, sound, and feel like in the mouth all affect food perception. The influence of haptic information available when handling food is relatively unknown. In this study, blindfolded participants bit-into fresh or stale pretzels while rating their freshness – staleness and crispness – softness. Information provided to the hand was either congruent (whole pretzel fresh or stale) or incongruent (half pretzel fresh, half stale) with what was presented to the mouth. The results demonstrate that the perception of both freshness and crispness was systematically altered when incongruent information was provided: bit-into fresh pretzel tips were perceived as staler and softer when a stale pretzel tip was held in the hand and vice versa. Haptic information available when handling food thus plays a significant role in modulating food perception.

  • Received July 29, 2010.
  • Revision received October 22, 2010.
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