3 years ago

Understanding Freshness Perception from the Cognitive Mechanisms of Flavor: The Case of Beverages.

Malika Auvray, Jérémie Lafraire, Jérémy Roque
Freshness perception has received recent consideration in the field of consumer science mainly because of its hedonic dimension, which is assumed to influence consumers' preference and behavior. However, most studies have considered freshness as a multisensory attribute of food and beverage products without investigating the cognitive mechanisms at hand. In the present review, we endorse a slightly different perspective on freshness. We focus on (i) the multisensory integration processes that underpin freshness perception, and (ii) the top-down factors that influence the explicit attribution of freshness to a product by consumers. To do so, we exploit the recent literature on the cognitive underpinnings of flavor perception as a heuristic to better characterize the mechanisms of freshness perception in the particular case of beverages. We argue that the lack of consideration of particular instances of flavor, such as freshness, has resulted in a lack of consensus about the content and structure of different types of flavor representations. We then enrich these theoretical analyses, with a review of the cognitive mechanisms of flavor perception: from multisensory integration processes to the influence of top-down factors (e.g., attentional and semantic). We conclude that similarly to flavor, freshness perception is characterized by hybrid content, both perceptual and semantic, but that freshness has a higher-degree of specificity than flavor. In particular, contrary to flavor, freshness is characterized by specific functions (e.g., alleviation of oropharyngeal symptoms) and likely differs from flavor with respect to the weighting of each sensory contributor, as well as to its subjective location. Finally, we provide a comprehensive model of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie freshness perception. This model paves the way for further empirical research on particular instances of flavor, and will enable advances in the field of food and beverage cognition.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02360

DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02360

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