SOUNDS HEALTHY: Auditory influences on the psychophysiological mechanisms of food-related decision making

  • Wang, Qian Janice (Participant)
  • Byrne, Derek V. (Participant)
  • Peng-Li, Danni (Participant)

Project: Research

Project Details


A substantial body of evidence has shown that people’s eating and purchase behavior, what they taste, and how much they enjoy the experience, are influenced by multisensory drivers dependant on cultural contexts.
While the influence of our senses of sight and smell on food perception is well-studied, auditory cues are still underrepresented in food research per se. That is for both product-intrinsic (e.g., the crispy sound of chips) and product-extrinsic factors (e.g. sounds related to the packaging).
Recently research has focused on contextual factors such as ambient sounds’ effect on food choice and food preference. Such stimuli have been found to operate outside our conscious awareness and elicit emotional purchase behavior driven by arousal. Also, more abstract eating-related concepts such as healthiness are yet to be uncovered. Such sounds may facilitate specific, congruent associations with healthy foods and even provoke healthier perceived food experiences, but the question is: can it also nudge consumers to purchase healthy food in the first place? One route to determine whether healthy sounds have an impact on decision making is to investigate subconscious processes that are happening before the actual choice.
Collectively, this framework suggests that consumers’ food perception and choice is highly influenced by principles of multisensory integration including intrinsic, extrinsic, and contextual factors, but higher-level cognitive drivers, subconscious processes, and cultural differences are indeed also fundamental for attaining a holistic understanding.
The aim of this project overall is to study how auditory stimuli, and in particular “healthy sounds” and “taste sounds”, can influence consumers’ decision-making processes and behaviors around eating healthy across cultures.

Funding: Sino Danish Centre, Food and Health Research Theme

Collaborator: Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing
Effective start/end date01/01/201931/12/2021


Explore the research topics touched on by this project. These labels are generated based on the underlying awards/grants. Together they form a unique fingerprint.