Understanding flavour nutrient learning: the impact of extinction and expectation

Gould, Natalie (2013) Understanding flavour nutrient learning: the impact of extinction and expectation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Humans and other animals learn to associate flavours with aspects of consuming foods,
which can result in acquired liking or aversion for that flavour. Two main processes of
learning have been proposed to be critical: flavour-flavour (FFL) and flavour-nutrient
(FNL) learning. This thesis addresses two main research questions primarily in the
context of FNL; firstly, does liking for a flavour acquired through FNL persist once
energy has been removed? It has been suggested that acquired flavour liking is resistant
to extinction, but there are conflicting results within the human literature, which has
concentrated on FFL. Studies One and Two explored this but failed to demonstrate
acquired liking, although they tentatively suggested that extinction did not occur for
acquired liking as pleasantness ratings remained stable after removal of energy. The
second research question investigated whether liking acquired through FNL was
modulated by expectations. Study Three manipulated viscosity of a yoghurt drink to
determine if this impacted upon FNL, as thicker products have been shown to signal
higher energy content. Expectations were influenced by viscosity, but with little impact
upon pleasantness ratings and little evidence that FNL was enhanced. Studies Four and
Five used labelling to influence expectations regarding a yoghurt-based breakfast.
Study Four found that when no information was provided, liking changed as predicted
from FNL. Contrary to prediction, when congruent information about energy content
was provided, this acquired liking was not demonstrated, and ratings remained stable
across sessions. Study Five did not replicate this finding, with pleasantness ratings in
line with FNL literature. Addition of a hedonic label actually resulted in decreased
pleasantness of the breakfast over time, suggesting a contrast effect with the flavour not
delivering what was expected. Methodological limitations are recognised, with
measurement of liking and contingency awareness discussed as potential explanations
for weaker findings.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0231 Sensation. Aesthesiology
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2013 13:14
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 14:16
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/45167

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