psychology

Have you ever found yourself preferring to eat with one spoon rather than another? Or maybe you’ve found yourself pondering which is the best set of cutlery to buy for your home, by judging how good it ‘looks’, or rather, how good it ‘feels’ in the hand? While the design (think shape, material, ergonomics) of the cutlery is what we all think that we are judging, maybe what drives our preference for one eating utensil over another is an often overlooked but substantial characteristic: Its weight.

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What makes for the perfect dining experience? New book reveals how there is so much more to eating out than the food on our plates.

The Perfect Meal - The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining

By Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman

Published: 18th September 2014

What exactly makes the act of eating out so enjoyable? For some, it’s the flavour of the food, for others, the people they are sharing it with. The reality, however, is far more multisensory. Delivering great food means understanding how one sense affects another and knowing exactly how to bring each of those components together. Welcome to ‘gastrophysics’, a revolutionary new approach to the science of the perfect meal. Providing the latest insights from a diverse range of fields, including experimental psychology, design, neuroscience, sensory marketing, behavioural economics and the culinary and sensory sciences, Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman draw on expert opinion, delve into the latest research and make reservations at some of the world’s most cutting-edge restaurants in order to investigate of all of the elements that contribute to a diner’s enjoyment of a meal.

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People » Charles Spence

Professor of Experimental Psychology & University Lecturer, Somerville College

Charles' research looks at the role of attention in multisensory perception, including sensory perception of food.

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People » Alex Richardson

Visiting Senior Research Scientist, Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics

Alex Richardson’s research focuses on how nutrition can affect behaviour, learning and mood.

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