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20:00 – 21:30

Broerstraat 5

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Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating

Charles Spence

The pleasure we experience in tasting a certain food is the result of the five senses. In other words, the goodness of a food depends not only on taste but also on sound, color, shape, smell, weight and our mood. It is the total, multisensory experience that counts. So if the perception of food occurs in the mind and not just in the mouth this has big consequences for restaurants, the food industry and enjoying our own meals and diners. Gastrophysics is the science that studies the relationship between food and our senses. The greatest researcher of this science Charles Spence will present his latest experiments and through the analysis of some case histories he will offer the tools for a new multisensory approach to designing food experiences. How can e.g. sound affect the levels of sweetness, bitterness, or sourness people perceive from their food? Spence will show that while synesthetes may experience particularly nuanced sensations, there may be certain aspects of synesthesia that we all possess.

Charles Spence is a professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University and is director of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory, a world-renowned research center for the analysis of information obtained from human beings through different sense organs (smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch). In his research he looks at the role of attention in multisensory perception, including sensory perception of food. He is a consultant for many multinational companies including Unilever, Procter & Gamble, McDonalds, Starbucks and Heston Blumenthal’s famous restaurant The Fat Duck. Charles Spence has published more than six hundred scientific articles in international on the influence of the various senses on perception of food. He is the author of the book Gastrophysics: The New Science of Eating (2017), the fruit of twenty years of experiments with food and the five senses.

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