The sound of silence: Presence and absence of sound affects meal duration and hedonic eating experience

Signe Lund Mathiesen*, Anu Hopia, Pauliina Ojansivu, Derek V. Byrne, Qian Janice Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The interplay between external auditory cues in the eating environment and cognitive processes, such as distraction, may influence food intake, but how and the degree to which they do is unclear. We report an experiment designed to investigate the effects of different sonic atmospheres on meal duration, food intake and evaluations, and responses to the sonic eating environment. In a quasi-naturalistic cafeteria setting, participants (N = 248) were eating a lunch meal whilst being in one of four conditions: slow music, fast music, cafeteria noise, and silence. The results revealed that participants eating their lunch while exposed to some kind of background sound spent more time on their meal than those eating in silence. In terms of music tempo, slow music prolonged meal duration compared to fast music, but did not lead to increased intake. The appropriateness and liking of the sonic atmosphere were positively correlated with the overall pleasantness of the eating experience and liking of the food. The findings provide support for existing evidence documenting the importance of ambient sound in relation to food experiences and provide further insights into how individuals perceive and respond to sonic meal environments. Results are discussed in terms of recommendations for future design of eating environments in different contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106011
JournalAppetite
Volume174
Number of pages10
ISSN0195-6663
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Eating behaviour
  • Environmental factors
  • Meal duration
  • Multisensory
  • Music
  • Sound
  • BEHAVIOR
  • DISTRACTION
  • FOOD-INTAKE
  • INCREASES
  • MUSIC TEMPO
  • PERCEPTION
  • RESPONSES
  • WEIGHT
  • AUDITORY CONTRIBUTIONS
  • PREFERENCE

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