This study was designed to assess whether the combined effect of taste-congruent and incongruent extrinsic visual cues presented in virtual reality (VR) influences the perception of sweetness and product liking. Three VR environments (sweet-congruent, sweet-incongruent, and neutral) were created based on the evidence in existing literature. Participants tasted the same beverage in three VR environments and evaluated the environment and beverage liking, as well as perceived taste intensity (sweetness, sourness, and bitterness), congruency, comfort, and environment vividness. Frontal EEG alpha asymmetry (FAA) was also recorded as a complementary physiological measurement of overall liking. The results showed that the perceived sweetness of the beverage was significantly elevated in a sweet-congruent environment versus the other environments. Visual-taste congruency did not seem to have an effect on beverage liking and overall liking, whereas an increase in environment liking was found in the incongruent environment versus the other environments. These findings confirmed the significant influence of taste-specific visual cues on flavour perception, while the successful use of VR in the study provided insight into future applications of taste-specific VR environment in the modulation of flavour perception and sugar reduction.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited