Explicit wanting and liking for palatable snacks are differentially affected by change in physiological state, and differentially related to salivation and hunger

Richard J. Stevenson*, Heather M. Francis, Tuki Attuquayefio, Candice Ockert

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Incentive salience theory (IST) suggests that ‘wanting’ and liking are dissociable processes. We argue that explicit measures of wanting in humans can reflect the impact of implicit ‘wanting’ as envisaged by IST, suggesting that dissociations should also be evident for explicit judgments of wanting and liking. To test this, participants were asked to make ratings of these variables for 8 palatable snack foods – and in a related test salivation rate was also assessed. Participants viewed and sniffed each snack food and rated wanting, and then sampled it and rated liking and whether they wanted more of it. Following a lunch eaten to satiety, and composed in part of half of the palatable snack foods, participants repeated their evaluations of the snack foods (and salivation rate). Liking changed less across lunch than wanting and want more ratings, the last-mentioned changing the most. Change in liking was associated with change in salivation rate, independent of wanting, and change in wanting was associated with change in hunger independent of liking. We argue these dissociations are consistent with ‘wanting’ influencing explicit wanting, and that want more ratings may represent a ‘purer’ measure of IST ‘wanting’.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-106
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiology and Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017



  • liking
  • wanting
  • palatability
  • human
  • ingestive behavior

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