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Appetite 55 (2010) 738–741

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Appetite
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/appet

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A strawberry by any other name would smell as sweet, green, fruity and buttery. Multisensory cognition of a food aroma§
D.A. Booth *, M.S. Kendal-Reed, R.P.J. Freeman a,b
a b

School of Psychology, College of Life and EnvironmentalSciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, West Midlands B15 2TT, UK Doctoral School of the Institute of Education in the University of London, UK

A R T I C L E I N F O

A B S T R A C T

Article history: Received 1 July 2010 Received in revised form 6 September 2010 Accepted 9 September 2010 Keywords: Multisensory integration Strawberry volatiles Odour mixtures Personalcognition Normed discrimination scaling Configural learning

This brief report presents illustrative findings from the first implementation for recognition of an aroma of individualised analysis of cognition as normed discriminations. Two assessors compared mixtures of four odorants with a fresh strawberry in overall aroma, its intensity and balance, and in the smell of each odorant conceptualised in theirown words. By the second session, each assessor’s judgments of overall likeness of a mixture to strawberry focused on one of the six mental processes tested. One assessor acquired a configural conceptualisation of all the odorants as smelling the same as strawberry. The other asssessor learnt to rate strawberriness by conceptualising the four odorants separately in judgments of both intensity andbalance. Even this modest amount of data provides insights into mental mechanisms by which an individual perceives the complex profile of odorants released by a familiar material. ß 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Introduction What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. William Shakespeare (Romeo and Juliet) The strawberry’s olfactory norm This paper reports the firstimplementation for olfaction of an approach to multisensory, multiconceptual cognition based on discrimination from a learnt configural norm (Booth & Freeman, 1993). The norm was the aroma of a ripe strawberry. The samples discriminated from those volatiles were mixtures of four odorants, each having its own assessor-named aroma note. The theory’s applicability to such conceptual features of anobject as well as to its sensed material features had been demonstrated for the sweet taste of an orange-flavoured drink and the calories symbolised by

§ These experiments were designed and executed by Dr. Martin Kendal-Reed as part of a research project funded by the cognitive science initiative of the Biology branch of the UK Science and Engineering Research Council. The data were analysed by atool programmed in QuickBasic by Richard Freeman on a CASE Studentship funded by the UK Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries. Histograms of the cognitive data from the second assessor are included as Figure 3 in the authors’ manuscript on http://www.psychology-people.bham.ac.uk/people/david.booth. We thank Dr. S. Jellinek of Dragoco GmbH for a stock solution of each of the four odorants,plus solvent for the dilutions. * Corresponding author. E-mail address: D.A.Booth@Bham.ac.UK (D.A. Booth).

its labelling (Freeman & Booth, 2010; Freeman, Richardson, Kendal-Reed, & Booth, 1993). The first multisensory example of the approach was the learnt balance between sugars and acids in the same drink (Booth & Freeman, 1993; Freeman, 1996). Each of these multifeatured examples of ingestiveappetite showed that two sources of information could have aspects that are recognised as the same and other aspects that are distinct from each other. Sucrose and fructose operated as the same feature in overall flavour of the orange drink (Booth & Freeman, 1993) as shown for sugars in water using classic discrimination methodology (Breslin, Beauchamp, & Pugh, 1996). Citric and malic acids were...
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