Attention and Flavor Binding

Richard J. Stevenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


Taste, smell, and oral somatosensation combine to generate a largely unitary experience-flavor. Five features suggest this: (1) our lack of awareness of the role of smell in flavor; (2) the localization of taste and smell to the mouth; (3) limited awareness of variations in odorant delivery; (4) perceptual interactions between the flavor senses; and (5) the limitations in terms of access to certain elements of flavor. These features, which reflect the binding of taste, smell, and somatosensation into flavor, may be accounted for by several mechanisms. Preattentive processes appear to localize taste to the mouth. Attentional capture by a modality and a spatial location, the mouth and taste, respectively, can account for the remaining features. However, there is a competing attentional account, which suggests that a common channel-learned or hard-wired-exists for tastes and smells in the mouth, again accounting for most features of flavor binding. Currently, it is not clear which account or variant is superior.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultisensory Flavor Perception: From Fundamental Neuroscience Through to the Marketplace
EditorsBetina Piqueras-Fiszman, Charles Spence
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780081003510
ISBN (Print)9780081003503
Publication statusPublished - 13 Apr 2016

Publication series

NameWoodhead Publishing Series in Food Science Technology and Nutrition
ISSN (Print)2042-8049

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