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Food Qual Prefer. 2015 Dec 1;46:142-150.

Perception of chemesthetic stimuli in groups who differ by food involvement and culinary experience.

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Sensory Evaluation Center, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA ; Department of Food Science, College of Agricultural Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA.
Department of Culinary Science, The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.


In the English language, there is generally a limited lexicon when referring to the sensations elicited by chemesthetic stimuli like capsaicin, allyl isothiocyanate, and eugenol, the orally irritating compounds found in chiles, wasabi, and cloves, respectively. Elsewhere, experts and novices have been shown to use language differently, with experts using more precise language. Here, we compare perceptual maps and word usage across three cohorts: experts with formal culinary education, naïve individuals with high Food Involvement Scale (FIS) scores, and naïve individuals with low FIS scores. We hypothesized that increased experience with foods, whether through informal experiential learning or formal culinary education, would have a significant influence on the perceptual maps generated from a sorting task conducted with chemesthetic stimuli, as well as on language use in a descriptive follow-up task to this sorting task. The low- and highFIS non-expert cohorts generated significantly similar maps, though in other respects the highFIS cohort was an intermediate between the lowFIS and expert cohorts. The highFIS and expert cohorts generated more attributes but used language more idiosyncratically than the lowFIS group. Overall, the results from the expert group with formal culinary education differed from the two naïve cohorts both in the perceptual map generated using MDS as well as the mean number of attributes generated. Present data suggest that both formal education and informal experiential learning result in lexical development, but the level and type of learning can have a significant influence on language use and the approach to a sorting task.


Perceptual mapping; chemesthetic; culinary; expert; spicy

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