Conditioning unfamiliar and familiar flavours to specific positive emotions

J. Kuenzel, E. H. Zandstra, R. Lion, I. Blanchette, A. Thomas, W. El-Deredy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Emotions play an important role in determining food preferences and liking. We often speak of food as something that evokes emotions, such as comfort food. In two studies we investigated whether novel and familiar flavoured drinks could be conditioned to evoke specific positive emotions and whether this had a subsequent effect on liking of the drinks. In the first study, 167 participants consumed one of two novel flavoured drinks (one initially highly liked, one initially medium liked) for five consecutive days while watching film clips evoking either joy, contentment or no emotion in a between subjects design. On the test day, we measured whether the emotions from the film clips were transferred to the drink, i.e. that the drink (which has no active ingredients) on its own induced a joyful/activating or contented/relaxed response. Behavioural measures showed that the conditioned drinks successfully induced the distinct positive emotions. Further, the emotional associations impacted on the liking of the drink. Liking scores for identical stimuli were different based on which emotion the drinks were associated with. In the second study with 139 participants, the same paradigm was used with familiar flavours. No emotional conditioning effects were found. These results suggest that it is possible to induce specific positive emotions by flavour conditioning in the absence of active ingredients for novel but not for familiar flavours, confirming that existing associations cannot be easily erased by new conditioning. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1105-1107
    Number of pages2
    JournalFood Quality and Preference
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


    • Conditioning
    • Emotions
    • Flavour


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