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Mecanisms underlying sensory interactions and complex perceptions

David Labbe
Abstract : Perceptual interactions between different sensory modalities affect overall perception of food. This phenomenon has been extensively investigated between olfactory and tastant stimuli in aqueous solutions. But few studies assessed olfactory and taste interactions in existing products (commercially available). Similarly multi-sensory perceptual interactions involving olfaction, taste and in mouth tactile perceptions and complex perceptions (i.e. a perception which is driven by more than one sensory dimension) have been poorly investigated. The first objective of my thesis was to investigate mechanisms underlying perceptual interactions between bimodal olfactory and taste perceptions in existing products and then in solutions with olfactory stimuli at a subthreshold concentration. This approach was extended to olfactory, taste and in mouth tactile perceptions and finally to "refreshing" complex perception. I showed that product familiarity and attentional strategy applied during exposure are critical factors modulating perceptual interactions. I demonstrated for the first time that subthreshold odorant concentrations related to sweet taste (i.e. strawberry) increase perceived sweetness of a sucrose solution. The multiplicity of perceptual interactions in complex food systems was demonstrated since I identified bimodal (e.g. between bitterness and coldness) and tri-modal (e.g. between mint aroma, sweetness and coldness) perceptual interactions. Finally I showed that refreshing perception is driven by positive and negative sensory drivers, food habits, together with hedonic and psychophysiological factors such as mental energy. To conclude, knowledge acquired during this work raised new questions; in particular related to neural mechanisms underlying memorization of perceptual associations and required conditions in terms of exposure duration and frequency for construction of such interactions.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 9, 2009 - 8:00:00 AM
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David Labbe. Mecanisms underlying sensory interactions and complex perceptions. Life Sciences [q-bio]. AgroParisTech, 2008. English. ⟨NNT : 2008AGPT0087⟩. ⟨pastel-00005001⟩

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