The effect of background music on food pleasantness ratings

Kevin Kantono, Nazimah Hamid, Daniel Shepherd, Michelle J. Y. Yoo, B. Thomas Carr, Gianpaolo Grazioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
1177 Downloads (Pure)


This study investigated whether samples of pleasant, neutral and unpleasant music can impact food perception. To this end, the pleasantness of three different types of chocolate gelati (milk chocolate, dark chocolate and bittersweet chocolate) was determined using 50 participants exposed to silence (the reference condition) and three music samples differing in self-rated preference. To measure hedonic responses to the gelati samples, the Time Intensity method was utilized to derive the maximum intensity of pleasantness and the area under the Time Intensity pleasantness curve. The presence of non-preferred music significantly decreased the pleasantness ratings of all three types of chocolate gelati tested, while preferred music increased perceived pleasantness ratings of dark and bittersweet chocolate gelati, but not milk chocolate gelato. Time Intensity parameters for pleasantness ratings did not differ significantly across the three different types of chocolate gelati in the silent condition, suggesting that listening to the music influenced gelati pleasantness ratings. This study demonstrated that the pleasantness of gelati changed with music valence. The findings echo previous studies emphasizing the importance of crossmodal effects between music and food perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1111-1125
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Music
Issue number5
Early online dateNov 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


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