‘The Music Sounds Better With Food’ Scientists Discover Link Between Sound & Taste

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‘The Music Sounds Better With Food’ Scientists Discover Link Between Sound & Taste

Want to know what your favourite band tastes like? Imagine the possibilities, does Johnny Cash taste like smokey ham? Or is U2′s ‘Lemon’ really that sour?

Well, a new scientific study into our sensory sensations compared to our audio ones suggests that we could be eating ‘sonic-enhanced food’ within the next 20 years.

BBC News reports that a recent study by scientists at Oxford University has found that just as the appearance and smell of food can influence how we taste, so does sound.

Called the Bittersweet Study, conducted by Charles Spence, a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford, found that the taste of food could be attenuated in conjunction with the background soundtrack and its sonic properties.

Their research has expanded the area of sensory applications of food, and found that certain tones make things taste sweeter or more bitter. For instance, low brass sounds induce bitterness, while high-pitched tones – such as that of a bright piano – can make food seemingly sweeter.

Russell Jones, a member of the Experimental Food Society and head of branding company Condiment Junkie, who were involved in the study explains that “no experience is a single sense experience,” adding that, “so much attention is paid to what food looks like and what it smells like, but sound is just as important.”

“We’re not entirely sure what happens in brain as yet, but something does happen and that’s really exciting,” says Jones. “We know what frequency makes things taste sweeter.” Speaking of the practical implications and potential, Jones says, ”potentially you could reduce the sugar in a food but use music to make it seem just as sweet to the person eating it.”

Outside of the science community, sound and food are already being experimented with. BBC News points to Heston Blumenthal, chef for British restaurant His Fat Duck, who prepare a dish called ‘The Sound of the Sea’, a meal served while an iPod plays calming sounds of the ocean on the basis that it makes the food taste fresher.

Similarly, food companies are also making use of the unconscious link between food and sound in their packaging. A UK chip company has recently changed the material used to make their packaging to produce a ‘crispier, crunchier’ sound so that its contents seemed fresher.

Imagine the widespread applications of sound and food? Meat Loaf soundtracking meat loaf, lending it the same bitter, cringe worthy flavour as his AFL performance,while a soundtrack of Wolfmother could make everything taste like sour grapes. Don’t ask us why, but we imagine Gotye would make everything taste like chicken…


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