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Physiol Behav. 2007 Dec 5;92(5):831-9. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

Additive effects of flavour-caffeine and flavour-flavour pairings on liking for the smell and flavour of a novel drink.

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Department of Psychology, University of Sussex, Brighton, United Kingdom.


Previous research has established that caffeine consumption can reinforce changes in liking for caffeine-paired flavours, while pairing a novel flavour with a liked or dislike taste can also result in enduring changes in liking for the flavour. The present study examined how these two forms of flavour-learning interact. 72 habitual caffeine consumers who liked sweet tastes rated the odour and flavour of a novel tea drink before and after four training sessions where the flavour was paired with either 100 mg caffeine or placebo in one of three flavour contexts: added sweetness (aspartame), bitterness (quinine) or control. The liking for both the odour and flavour of the tea increased after pairing with caffeine regardless of flavour context, while pairing with bitterness reduced flavour liking regardless of the presence of caffeine. Pairing with quinine increased the rated bitterness of the tea odour, and reduced the rated sweetness of the tea flavour, post-training, independent of effects of caffeine. These data suggest that flavour-caffeine and flavour-flavour associations have additive effects on drink liking, while confirming that flavour-flavour associations can alter the immediate sensory experience of a flavour alone.

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