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Danni Peng-Li

PhD Student

Danni Peng-Li


PhD project: SOUNDS HEALTHY – The influence of sound on sensory, cognitive, and cultural drivers of healthy food choice: a combined neurological, physiological, and psychological approach.

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

Project term: 01.01.2019 – 31.12.2021

Master’s degree:

MSc in Neuroscience and Neuroimaging – Aarhus University

MSc in Neurobiology/Biophysics – University of Chinese Academy of Sciences




Human decision-making is not solely driven by rationality. Indeed, it is also driven by subconscious processes, emotions and interoceptive states which all can be influenced by multisensory cues in the environment. While the influence of our senses of sight, smell, and taste on food perception, is well-studied, sound is still underrepresented in this research area. However, auditory stimuli such as ambient music is a relatively inexpensive and convenient way to promote healthier food choices among consumers. For example, sound may guide consumers’ visual attention towards desired options (e.g. healthy food products) and thereby increasing the probability of them buying it. Likewise, music can activate the brain’s reward centers of consumers potentially causing augmented hedonic experience of healthy food. Such sensory nudges may have a particular impact in Western consumers, but it may be different in other cultures such as in China.


The aim of this PhD project is to explore how ambient music can influence sensory and cognitive drivers that can predict healthy food choices across different cultures. By studying these implicit measures, we can help the food industry design, optimize, and promote healthier products that are at the time more attractive to consumers in different market segments.



The project will include laboratory studies, involving biometric measurements (e.g. eye-tracking for decomposing visual attention) and neuroimaging (e.g. fMRI for exploring neural acitvity), as well as ecologically-valid consumer studies in real-life contexts to study actual purchase behavior. The research will be conducted in both Denmark and China with Danish and Chinese consumers respectively.



  • Sino-Danish Center of Education and Research
  • University of Chinese Academy of Sciences

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