Selecting Food. The Contribution of Memory, Liking, and Action


The goal of the present experiment was twofold identifying similarities and differences between flavour memory and visual memory mechanisms and investigating whether kinematics could serve as an implicit measure for food selection. To test flavour and visual memory an ‘implicit’ paradigm to represent real-life situations in a controlled lab setting was implemented. A target, i.e., a piece of cake shaped like either an orange or a tangerine, covered with either orange- or a tangerine-flavoured icing, was provided to participants on Day 1. On Day 2, without prior notice, participants were requested to recognize the target amongst a set of distractors, characterized by various flavours (orange vs. tangerine) and/or sizes (orange-like vs. tangerine-like). Similarly, targets and distractors consisting of 2D figures varying in shape and size were used to assess visual memory. Reach-to-grasp kinematics towards the targets were recorded and analysed by means of digitalization techniques. Correlations between kinematic parameters, memory and liking for each food item were also calculated. Results concerned with memory recollection indices provided evidence of different key mechanisms which could be based either on novelty of flavour memory or visual memory, respectively. To a moderate extent, kinematics may serve as an implicit index of food selection processes.

Appetite, 76, 186–196
Valentina Parma
Valentina Parma
Research Assistant Professor in Psychology