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J Psychol. 1998 Sep;132(5):561-8.

The influence of physical state and color on perceived sweetness.

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  • 1D. W. Daniel High School Central, South Carolina, USA.


Smell, texture, temperature, and other variables can influence the evaluation of foods and beverages. The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of physical state and color on perceived sweetness. Fifty junior high school students were given 10 samples of an aqueous sucrose solution in liquid and solid (gelatin) form in random order and were asked to rate their sweetness on a 10-point scale. For each state (liquid and solid), there were 4 colors (red, blue, yellow, and green) plus a colorless control. It was hypothesized that the liquid samples would be perceived as sweeter than the solid samples. The mean rating of the 5 liquid samples (7.61) was more that twice as high as the mean rating of the 5 solid samples (3.11). To determine whether this main effect for physical state held for each color, the mean difference in perceived sweetness between the liquid and solid samples by color was computed. A series of t tests revealed that the mean differences were significant at the .001 level in the expected direction for each color and the colorless control. There was no significant effect of color. These results strongly support the hypothesis that liquid samples are perceived as sweeter than solid samples.

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