A preliminary investigation on the effect of immersive consumption contexts on food-evoked emotions using facial expressions and subjective ratings

R.A. de Wijk*, D. Kaneko, G.B. Dijksterhuis, G. van Bergen, M.H. Vingerhoeds, M. Visalli, Liesbeth Zandstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have investigated effects of consumption contexts on food experiences using actual real-life contexts and recreated immersive contexts. The results typically show that food is experienced differently depending on the context. It is not clear whether context effects on food experiences are independent of the effects of specific foods. E.g., are all foods experienced more positive in a nice sushi restaurant or only the foods that have strong associations (congruent) with this context, such as sushi? A previous study with recreated beach and sushi restaurant contexts, demonstrated no effect of congruency on liking of the tasted foods. To verify whether the lack of congruency effects was caused by the relatively insensitivity of explicit response measures such as liking, implicit (facial expressions) and explicit (scores) measures of food-evoked and general emotions were used in the same study and those results are reported here.

Thirty-five participants were exposed repeatedly in seven sessions in one of two recreated contexts (sushi restaurant and beach) to foods that were either congruent (sushi in the sushi restaurant, popsicle at the beach, and iced tea) or incongruent (sushi at the beach and popsicle in the sushi restaurant) with the recreated context. Contexts were switched in an eighth and final session. Facial expressions and self-reported food-evoked emotions showed significant effects of context and foods (p < 0.05). General and food-evoked self-reported emotions were closely related, and showed systematic changes over repeated exposure, immersive context and food. No effect of food-context congruency was found, i.e., effects of contexts and foods on self-reported food-evoked emotions and facial expressions were independent. Food-evoked emotions were more positively valenced in the beach context compared to the restaurant context irrespective of foods (p < 0.05). After repeated exposure, self-reported emotions of boredom were intensified and those of interest were reduced, irrespective of food and context. A subsequent switch to a different context did not produce additional effects on emotions. Facial expressions also varied independently with food and context but were not affected by repeated exposure and were affected by the switch to a different context.

In conclusion, the results show that 1) physical and social consumption contexts that are recreated in the laboratory affect general and food-evoked emotions measured by self-reported emotions and facial expressions, 2) foods and contexts affect food-evoked self-reported emotions and facial expressions independently , and 3) results of self-reported food-evoked emotions and facial expressions showed similarities but also differences pointing to the added value of measuring facial expressions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104572
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Consumption context
  • Facial expressions
  • Food
  • Food-Context congruency
  • Immersive technology
  • Liking
  • Repeated exposure
  • Self-reported food-evoked emotions


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