Variations in Food Acceptability with Respect to Pitch, Tempo, and Volume Levels of Background Music

In: Multisensory Research

Abstract

This study aimed to determine whether pitch, tempo, and volume levels of music stimuli affect sensory perception and acceptance of foods. A traditional music piece was arranged into versions at two pitches, two tempos, and two volumes. For each session, chocolate and bell peppers were presented for consumption under three sound conditions: 1) upper or 2) lower level with respect to each of the three music elements, and 3) silence. Over three sessions, participants evaluated flavor intensity, pleasantness of flavor, texture impression, and overall impression of food samples, in addition to the pleasantness and stimulation evoked by the music stimuli. Results showed that lower-pitched and louder music stimuli increased hedonic impressions of foods compared to their respective counterparts and/or the silent condition. While the effects of music element levels on hedonic impressions differed with the type of food consumed, the participants liked the foods more when music stimuli were perceived as more pleasant and stimulating. Flavor was perceived as more intense when participants were more stimulated by the music samples. Although a specific element of music stimuli was manipulated, perceptions of other elements also varied, leading to large variations in the music-evoked pleasantness and stimulation. In conclusion, the findings provide empirical evidence that hedonic impressions of foods may be influenced by emotions evoked by music selections varying in music element levels, but it should be also noted that the influences were food-dependent and not pronounced.

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