No doubt you are aware that your sense of smell affects what you taste. But did you know that your eyes, ears and sense of touch are all in on the act as well? To say nothing of what is between your ears. Garmt Dijksterhuis, a Consumer Science researcher at Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, has written a book about the wonderful world of taste.
Eating activates many of our sensory systems, but actually all normal perception is based on many sensory inputs. A uni-sensory perception does not exist outside the laboratory, and even in the lab it is hard to come by. Depending on the way one wants to define a sensory system, there are many more senses than the proverbial five: smell, taste, touch, hearing, seeing. And not only does our perception depend on these sensory inputs, it also heavily depends on the information that is already in the perceiver. Top-down effects clearly affect how and what we perceive, and whether we appreciate it or not. As eating is such a biologically important behaviour it is vital to understand the processes of food related perception and behaviour if we want to address some of the current eating-related health problems. The psychological approach in this lecture may provide a starting point.