Consumers’ physiological responses, such as heart rate, electrodermal responses and frontal alpha activity can enhance the understanding of the consumers’ food experience. This study looked at physiological responses of the autonomic nervous system (heart rate, electrodermal responses) as a measure for level of arousal, and to responses of the central nervous system (frontal alpha asymmetry, FAA) as a measure for approach/withdrawal motivational tendency, to accepted (liked) and non-accepted (disliked) solutions and drinks. Participants (n = 32, age range: 18–34 years) were presented with a universally accepted (sucrose) and non-accepted (caffeine) solution, a personally selected accepted and non-accepted drink, and plain water. Heart rate, heart rate variability, electrodermal activity and electro-encephalography for FAA at F7 and F8 (10/20 system, 25 channels, 256 Hz) were registered during tasting. Statistical analysis consisted of linear mixed model analyses. We found a significantly higher heart rate during tasting of the personally selected non-accepted drink and a significantly lower latency of the electrodermal response during tasting of the universally non-accepted solution and personally selected non-accepted drink. No significant results were observed for FAA. This is one of the first studies that examined physiological responses including frontal alpha asymmetry during actual tasting. This study provides an exploratory method to obtain implicit measurement of acceptance and food product-elicited emotion through physiological responses and supports the importance of the inclusion of implicit measures, next to explicit measures, in sensory evaluation of food products.
- Autonomic nervous system (ANS)
- Frontal alpha asymmetry
- Implicit measures
- Sensory evaluation