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Signe Lund Mathiesen


Signe Lund Mathiesen


PhD Project: MUSICAL MEALS: How environmental sonic cues can influence eating behaviour

University: Aarhus University
Department: Department of Food Science, Food Quality Perception & Society
Supervisor: Derek V. Byrne, Professor, Science Team Leader
Project supervisor: Qian Janice Wang, Assistant Professor
Co-supervisor: Line Ahm Mielby, Postdoc
Project term: 01.02.2019 – 31.01.2022
Master’s degree: MA in Musicology, Aarhus University

Research into eating experience and behaviour have long demonstrated how the perception of food and drink is dependent on the multisensory integration of all the individual sensory stimuli that are part of eating. Recently, the critical sense of audition has gained increasing scholarly attention from various research fields including food and sensory science, experimental and environmental psychology, cognitive neuroscience, sensory and consumer marketing and psychophysics. Empirical evidence now illustrates how the physical context (including the presence of sound or music) of the environments in which we consume food can be recognised as an important facet of the eating experience. Both on a holistic level as well as a modifying factor for eating behaviour. Moreover, the way in which diners perceive and respond to different types of auditory eating environments has also become more in focus recently in terms of relevance.

Research outline:
This PhD project aims at uncovering the potential of sound to influence eating behaviour in real world environments through a variety of methodological approaches in data collection and analysis (e.g. biometric measurements (such as galvanic skin response) and computer-human-interactive systems). In addition to online and laboratory studies validating experimental soundtracks, various real world/ecological studies will be conducted in places such as workplace canteens, cafeterias and restaurants.


The research involved in this project has a range of potential future uses and implications. Applications of the findings might apply to food businesses and restaurant entrepreneurs invested in creating enhanced dining experiences, employers looking to improve the overall quality of life of their employees through healthier eating patterns as well as health sector professionals seeking to optimise eating surroundings for patients, relatives, or staff.


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