Probing food experience or liking through verbal ratings has its shortcomings. We compare explicit ratings to a range of (neuro)physiological and behavioral measures with respect to their performance in distinguishing drinks associated with different emotional experience. Seventy participants tasted and rated the valence and arousal of eight regular drinks and a “ground truth” high-arousal, low-valence vinegar solution. The discriminative power for distinguishing between the vinegar solution and the regular drinks was highest for sip size, followed by valence ratings, arousal ratings, heart rate, skin conductance level, facial expression of “disgust,” pupil diameter, and Electroencephalogram (EEG) frontal alpha asymmetry. Within the regular drinks, a positive correlation was found between rated arousal and heart rate, and a negative correlation between rated arousal and Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Most physiological measures showed consistent temporal patterns over time following the announcement of the drink and taking a sip. This was consistent over all nine drinks, but the peaks were substantially higher for the vinegar solution than for the regular drinks, likely caused by emotion. Our results indicate that implicit variables have the potential to differentiate between drinks associated with different emotional experiences. In addition, this study gives us insight into the physiological temporal response patterns associated with taking a sip.
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