Department of Experimental Psychology
Crossmodal Research Laboratory
South Parks Road
Charles' research looks at the role of attention in multisensory perception, including sensory perception of food.
Much of his work involves the investigation of multisensory illusions such as the 'rubber hand illusion'. He is also interested in investigating how our understanding of multisensory perception can be used in a consumer psychology setting to improve the perception of everyday objects.
He supervises research in other applied settings, such as studying the attentional limitations on our ability to talk on a mobile phone while attempting to drive a car and the temporal processing of information, and the synchronization of sensory signals.
Of particular relevance to food is his work on vision and chemical senses, which asks the question: do we just smell or taste what we see? The main goal of this project is to understand the interactions between vision and odour and taste perception, and in particular, investigating the influence of colour on odour and taste perception, and the level of processing where any crossmodal integration may occur.
He works with chefs including Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck, and with Ferran Adria's research kitchen in Spain. He is currently doing projects with the Paul Bocuse cookery school in Lyon, France, and with young and up-and-coming chefs such as Charles Michel in Bogota, Colombia.
Assessing the impact of the tableware and other contextual variables on multisensory flavour perception, Spence et al. Flavour 2012, 1:7
Tasting spoons: Assessing how the material of a spoon affects the taste of the food, Piqueras-Fiszman et al. Food Quality and Preference 24 (2012) 24–29