Measuring cooking experience implicitly and explicitly: Physiology, facial expression and subjective ratings

Anne Marie Brouwer*, Maarten A. Hogervorst, Jan B.F. van Erp, Marc Grootjen, Elsbeth van Dam, Elizabeth H. Zandstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Understanding consumers’ emotional experience during the process of cooking is important to enable the development of food products. In addition to verbal (‘explicit’) reports, physiological variables and facial expression may be helpful measures since they do not interfere with the experience itself and are of a continuous nature. This study investigated the potential of a range of implicit and explicit measures (1) to differentiate between subtle differences in pleasantness of ingredients, and (2) to identify emotionally salient phases during the process of cooking. 74 participants cooked and tasted a curry dish following standardized timed auditory instructions, either with ‘basic’ or ‘premium’ versions of ingredients. Heart rate, skin conductance, EEG and facial expression were recorded continuously during cooking and tasting. Subjective ratings of valence and arousal were taken directly after. Before and after cooking, participants performed ‘dry cooking’ sessions without ingredients to acquire changes in the physiological variables caused by physical activity only. We found no differences between the ‘basic’ and ‘premium’ groups, neither in implicit, nor in explicit measures. However, there were several robust physiological effects reflecting different cooking phases. Most notably, heart rate was relatively high for two specific phases: adding curry paste from a sachet during cooking, and tasting the prepared dish. The verbal reports of valence and arousal showed similar patterns over phases. Thus, our method suggests that physiological variables can be used as continuous, implicit measures to identify phases of affective relevance during cooking and may be a valuable addition to explicit measures of emotion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103726
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Cooking
  • EEG
  • Electrodermal
  • Emotion
  • Facial expression
  • Food preparation
  • Heart rate
  • Physiology


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