Send to

Choose Destination
Appetite. 2015 Dec;95:89-95. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2015.06.003. Epub 2015 Jun 27.

The effect of emotional state on taste perception.

Author information

Department of Food Science, 247 Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.
Department of Food Science, 247 Stocking Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA. Electronic address:


Taste perception can be modulated by a variety of extraneously applied influences, such as the manipulation of emotion or the application of acute stress. To evaluate the effect of more commonplace day-to-day emotional variation on taste function, taste intensity ratings and hedonic evaluations were collected from approximately 550 attendees following men's hockey games spanning the 2013-2014 season, a period encompassing 4 wins, 3 losses, and 1 tie. Since different outcomes at competitive sporting events are shown to induce varying affective response, this field study presented a unique environment to evaluate the effect of real-life emotional manipulations on our perception of taste, where previous research focused more on extraneous manipulation within a laboratory environment. Analysis revealed that positive emotions correlated with enhanced sweet and diminished sour intensities while negative emotions associated with heightened sour and decreased sweet tastes. Theoretically, both an increase in sweet and a decrease in sour taste intensity would drive acceptance of a great number of foods. Indeed, hedonic ratings for samples that were less liked (and parenthetically mostly sweet and sour in nature), selectively increased as positive affect grew, possibly due to the perceived decrease in sourness and increase in sweetness. The results of this field study indicate that emotional manipulations in the form of pleasantly or unpleasantly perceived real-life events can influence the intensity perception of taste, driving hedonics for less acceptable foods. These results suggest that such modulation of taste perception could play a role in emotional eating.


Affect; Emotion; Environment; Hedonics; Psychophysics; Taste

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center