From the first moments we encounter a food during our childhood we develop associations and even preferences with particular sensory characteristics. This complex network of associations keeps expanding throughout our lifetime and marks how we perceive and react toward foods. Why do red drinks tend to taste sweet, why do certain foods activate fight-or-flight responses, and why do we eat more of certain foods than others? Although we experience these situations very often, and these questions seem basic, the processes behind still remain unclear. Being able to understand these processes is crucial to optimise products for the population in general, but also particularly with cohorts with less sensory sensitivity, or people who need particular diets (e.g., rich in protein, or low in sodium), or people who have certain personality traits (e.g., neophobia). My research explores on the one hand, how our senses interact to deliver flavour perception (what crossmodal interactions take place when we consume foods) and how this knowledge can be used to optimise products from a sensory and a hedonic perspective. Looking beyond the intrinsic parameters of foods, collative variables, such as complexity and incongruity, are also relevant when investigating the impact of sensory cues in attitudes and approach-avoidance behaviour. My research also explores this process by collecting both immediate (nearly automatic) behaviour as well as physiological responses to sensory stimuli, which ranges from basic sensory signals through model foods, to complex real foods. Taken together my research combines the areas of sensory science and consumer behaviour contributing fundamental knowledge as well as insights for new product development.
|Effective start/end date||1/01/15 → …|