Friday 25th November, 2011
2:00pm to 3:00pm
Traditionally, there has been little interest amongst either philosophers or psychologists in the study of flavour perception. This is rather surprising given the fact that flavours constitute some of the most pleasurable and arguably most multisensory of our everyday experiences. In this talk, I will review the psychology and neuroscience of multisensory flavour perception in humans. I will consider the thorny question of whether flavour should be considered as a separate sense, or whether instead we might all perhaps be considered as synesthetes when it comes to flavour. I will also question whether audition and vision ought to be included in our definition of flavour. Differences in the relative importance of multisensory integration and expectation to flavour perception will be highlighted and the possibility that there may actually be more than one flavour system raised. I will also highlight the latest research demonstrating that packaging and atmospheric cues can also impact on flavour perception. By the end, I hope to have convinced you (at the very least) that the perception of flavour represents an interesting, if somewhat neglected, topic of research, and also that the study of flavour constitutes an important area in which psychologists, philosophers, and neuroscientists have much to offer each other.
Professor of Experimental Psychology, Crossmodal Research Lab, Oxford University
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